Managing Labor Relations

Managing Labor Relations

Chapter Outline

•      The Role of Labor Unions in Organizations

•      Trends in Unionization

•      The Unionization Process

•      The Collective-Bargaining Process

•      Negotiating Labor Agreements

•      Administering Labor Agreements

•      Labor Unions and Social Issues

Chapter Objectives

•      Describe the role of labor unions in organizations.

•      Identify and summarize trends in unionization.

•      Discuss the unionization process.

•      Describe the collective-bargaining process.

•      Discuss how labor agreements are negotiated.

•      Summarize how labor agreements are administered.

•      Discuss labor unions and social issues.

The Role of Labor Unions
in Organizations

•      Labor relations

–  The process of dealing with employees who are represented by a union

•      Labor union

–  A legally constituted group of individuals working together to achieve shared, job-related goals, including higher pay and shorter working hours.

What Is Collective Bargaining?

•      The process by which managers and union leaders negotiate acceptable terms and conditions of employment for those workers represented by the unions

Historical Development of Unions

Historical Development of Unions (cont’d)

•      Knights of Labor

–  An important early union that expanded its goals and its membership to include workers in numerous fields rather than a single industry

•      The American Federation of Labor
(AF of L)

–  An early union that focused its efforts on improved working conditions and better employment contracts rather than getting involved in legislative and political activities

Historical Development of Unions (cont’d)

•      Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)

–  An early union that focused on organizing employees by industry, regardless of their craft, skills, or occupation

Legal Context of Unions

•      National Labor Relations Act (1935; Wagner Act)

–  Granted power to labor unions on a more equal footing with managers in terms of the rights of employees

•      National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

–  Administers most labor law in the United States

Legal Context of Unions (cont’d)

•      Labor Management Relations Act (1947; Taft-Hartley Act)

–   Passed in response to a wide variety of strikes following World War II; curtailed and limited union power

–   Closed shop

•    A workplace in which only workers who are already union members may be hired by the employer

–   Union shop agreement

•    A nonunion member can be hired but must join the union within a specified time to keep his or her job

Legal Context of Unions (cont’d)

•      Landrum-Griffin Act (1959; Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act)

–  Focused on eliminating various unethical, illegal, and undemocratic union practices

The Basic Structure of a Union

Union Structures

•      Locals

–  Unions organized at the level of a single company, plant, or small geographic region

•      Shop steward

–  Elected position in a local union, is a regular employee who functions as a liaison between union members and supervisors

Trends in Union Membership

Reasons for Trends
in Union Membership

•      Changing composition of the workforce

–   Increasing women and ethnic minorities, which have a weaker tradition of union affiliation

–   Shift toward geographic areas that have been less heavily unionized

–   Shift to the service sector, which has been less heavily unionized

•      Aggressive anti-unionization strategies by business

•      Companies have tried to create a more employee-friendly environment to minimize the attractiveness of labor unions

Trends in Union-Management Relations

•      The gradual decline in unionization in the U.S. has been accompanied by some significant trends in union-management relations.

•      In the automotive and steel industries unions remain strong and have large memberships.

•      Unions recognize their declined membership, and now tend to work with management, rather than against them.

Trends in Bargaining Perspectives

•      Previous bargaining goals

–  Increased wages and salaries

–  Increased benefits

•      Current goals

–  Job security

–  Restricting job movement

–  Fighting against wage cuts

–  Focusing on improved pension programs

Steps Employees Use to Form a Union

What Is a Bargaining Unit?

•      The specifically defined group of employees who are eligible for representation by the union

Decertification of Unions

•      For decertification to occur, two conditions must be met

–  No labor contract can currently be in force (that is, the previous agreement must have expired).

–  The union must have served as the official bargaining agent for the employees.

•      As with certification, if 30% of eligible employees sign decertification cards, an election is held.

Setting Parameters for
Collective Bargaining

•      Mandatory items

–  Wages, working hours, and benefits; must be included as part of collective bargaining if either party expresses a desire to negotiate one or more of them

•      Permissive items

–  May be included in collective bargaining if both parties agree

The Negotiating Process:
The Bargaining Zone

Barriers to Effective Negotiation

•      Impasse

–  A situation in which one or both parties believe that reaching an agreement is not imminent

•      Strike

–  Employees walk off their jobs and refuse to work

•      Picketing

–  Workers representing the union march at the entrance to the employer’s facility with signs explaining their reasons for striking

Barriers to Effective Negotiation (cont’d)

•      Boycott

–  Union members agree not to buy the products of a targeted employer

•      Slowdown

–  Workers perform their jobs at a much slower pace than normal

•      Wildcat strike

–  Occurs during the course of a labor contract and is usually undertaken in response to a perceived injustice on the part of management

Barriers to Effective Negotiation (cont’d)

•      Lockout

–  The employer denies employees access to the workplace

Resolving Impasses

•      Mediation

–  A neutral third party—the mediator—listens to and reviews the information presented by both sides and then makes an informed recommendation and provides advice to both parties about what she or he believes should be done.

•      Arbitration

–  Both sides agree in advance that they will accept the recommendations made by an independent third party.

Resolving Impasses (cont’d)

•      Final-offer arbitration

–  The parties bargain until impasse and then the two parties’ final offers are submitted to the arbitrator.

Administering Labor Agreements

•      Contracts negotiated between management and labor define how the labor agreement will be enforced.

•      The company may have to take into account various factors

–  Seniority

–  Previous overtime allocations

–  The hours or days in which the overtime work is needed