Collective bargaining is a highly valuable institution in our society. To work, collective bargaining requires respect for openness as well as respect for privacy. But we have not yet developed political theories that legitimate the popular concept of the "right to know" as it impinges on collective bargaining. The theory required for collective bargaining to work is a theory of trust, respect for openness, and respect for privacy. Ours is a society increasingly distrustful and demanding of information. A partial explanation for these societal traits is a lack of confidence in our decision makers. Consequently, we are having difficulty developing a collective bargaining system based on trust, some openness, and some privacy.
There is an even greater dilemma. Collective bargaining never will replace decision making in the traditional legislative sense. At best, it will have to coexist with our legislative tradition. Thus, theoretical attitudes needed for the success of collective bargaining always will be in conflict with attitudes that support the traditional legislative approach, namely, demands for information, describing issues in terms of "rights," and an endless struggle to triumph in the legislative process rather than trying to assure that all needs are met.