Our country makes an ill-advised struggle against European calls for the OEDC to encourage industrial democracy: The dispute, which appears to pit France against the United States, centers on whether the organization will endorse giving workers a role in corporate management, as they have by law in some European countries but do not have in the United States. It had appeared that the organization would remain neutral on that issue, but France has proposed adding language that says giving workers such roles should be "encouraged.'' That has drawn the ire of business groups but has the strong support of trade unions. An official at the United States mission to the organization said on Friday that he had just learned of the dispute and said he was not sure how the organization would proceed. He declined to state the American position. The O.E.C.D. is made up of 30 countries, most of them highly industrialized, and operates by consensus. As a result, any country that is strongly opposed to an initiative can block it. The organization has had principles of corporate governance since 1999 and announced plans in January to expand and enhance them. It had planned to announce the final version of those principles last week, but that announcement was canceled, ostensibly because of a scheduling conflict...Unions hope, and some businesses fear, that if the organization were to support rights of workers to be involved in corporate governance, it would make it easier to establish and protect rules requiring such a role in both developed and developing countries.


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