Labor Relations Essay
1. Define the term “collective bargaining” and list and describe four issues that are mandatory components of a collective bargaining agreement. Collective bargaining can be defined as the process of involving representatives from both employers and employees to come to terms and conditions of employment that both parties agree. These agreements are written into legally binding contacts good for one to five years. (Budd, 2009, p. 229) Four issues that are mandatory components of collective bargaining agreement are compensation, personnel policies, employer rights and responsibilities. Compensation would include wages, benefits, vacations, holidays, and profit sharing. Personnel policies refer to layoffs, promotions, and transfer policies. Employer’s rights and responsibilities include but not limited to seniority rights, job standards, management right, just cause, safety standards, and discipline and discharge, (Budd, 2009, p. 13) Employer rights and responsibilities is a component of collective bargaining is illustrated in an article by Aaron Kuriloff.
According to this article the NFL position is that the; NFL Players Association isn’t bargaining in good faith, using delays to run out the clock on talks before disbanding the union and suing the league under antitrust law for colluding to restrict pay (Kuriloff, 2011 ) The National Football League has asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for clarifications in using antitrust laws to block a lockout and clarifying if the National Football League Players Association is a certified labor union. The National Football League position is that the National Football League Players Association is using delaying tactics and they are threatening a work stoppage. The next a component of collective bargaining I found in an article by Howard Beck of the New York Times deals with compensation. The National Basketball Association is also facing a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) Mr. Becks states, that the Owners are proposing a fundamental overhaul of the N.B.A.’s economic system, including a hard salary cap, shorter contracts and a 38 percent reduction in player salaries (about $800 million (Beck, 2011) The owners want to reduce salaries because 17 out of the 30 franchise teams are losing money at a sum of $300 million a year.
While the National Basketball Player’s Association disputes the league’s figures; because Attendance is up, the league is on pace for its highest viewership of all other professional sports. To conclude these collective bargaining agreements of both the NFL and the NBA can be categorized as being distributive bargaining. Both parties are going either win or lose some concessions to remain a viable and profitable organization.
2. List and discuss three U.S. laws that support collective bargaining, and three examples of employer unfair labor practices. The three laws that support collective bargaining between employers and labor unions are the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, the Labor-Management Relations Act of 1947, and Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, which is also known as the Wagner Act, made it legal to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. The Wagner Act created a labor environment to equalize the bargaining power between the employer and employees as stated by this text the policy of the United States to eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce and to mitigate and eliminate these obstructions when they have occurred by encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining (National Labor Relations Board)
The main purpose of the Wagner Act was to encourage collective bargaining in the private sector by protecting workers’ rights to join and form labor unions (Budd, 2009 , p. 119) Furthermore, this act also gave more expansive powers to the federal government with the regulating of labor relations; and it banned employers from punishing workers for using their collective bargaining rights. Americans did have the right to join unions and strike, prior to the enactment of this law. Previously, employers had been free to spy on, to question, to discipline, to discharge, to terminate, and to blacklist employees for either joining unions or striking. According to the website Infoplease.com the Taft-Hartley Act amended much of the National Labor Relations (Wagner) Act of 1935, the federal law regulating labor relations of enterprises engaged in interstate commerce, and it nullified parts of the Federal Anti-Injunction (Norris-LaGuardia) Act of 1932.
The act established control of labor disputes on a new basis by enlarging the National Labor Relations Board and providing that the union or the employer must, before terminating a collective-bargaining agreement, serve notice on the other party and on a government mediation service. The government was empowered to obtain an 80-day injunction against any strike that it deemed a peril to national health or safety. (Taft-Hartley Labor Act, 2011) The Labor-Management Relations Act provided the government far more oversight over union activities, including the right of the U.S. president to stop a strike if it was deemed dangerous to national health. The act also stripped unions of their power in several ways, including forbidding unions from contributing to political campaigns and only allowing unions to organize after a majority vote by employees. Although President Truman vetoed the act, it passed easily over his veto, and this act remains the heart of U.S. labor law. The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. Also called the Landrum-Griffin Act, this law amended the Taft-Hartley Act to protect the rights of union members within their union and imposed new reporting requirements and codes of conduct on unions and employers. This was act created in response to the surge of corruption from various labor union officials who used violence as a way to quail the union opposition from employers and employees.
Another process of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 was to stop labor unions from be infiltrated by communist. Furthermore, former members of the Communist party and former convicts were prevented from holding a union office for a period of five years after resigning their Communist party membership or being released from prison. (infoplease.com, 2011) Three examples of unfair labor practices include; firing a union supporter or someone trying to form a union, Failing to bargain in good faith, threatening to employees with job loss or demotion or physical harm if they support a union and preventing employees from talking about a union or wearing union buttons when it doesn’t interfere with their work duties or customers. The National Labor Relations Board which is an independent federal agency devoted to conducting representation elections and adjudicating unfair labor practices (Budd, 2009 , p. 124) I want to discuss a news article written by Chris Sieroty, who writes for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Mr. Sieroty details in his article about the labor unrest being experienced in Las Vegas Nevada concerning the allege discrimination against employees based on their national origin. The protesters also urged Station Casinos to support the union’s efforts to establish a new standard when it comes to alleged discrimination against employees based on national origin. (Sieroty, 2011) Therefore, the labor union, the Culinary Local 226 is attempting to unionize nearly 13,000 workers at the 18 hotel-casinos operated by Station Casinos in Southern Nevada. Station Casinos has been charged with using threats, intimidation, surveillance, bribery, discrimination and other illegal activities against employees engaged in lawfully protected union activities. The National Labor Relations Board alleges that for approximately seven months Station Casinos has used this illegal tactic to divide and conquer in union busting strategy by not supporting an anti-discrimination policy.
The article I want to discuss is an article by Steven Greenhouse. Mr. Greenhouse writes for the New York Times and his article was about the illegally firing an employee after she criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page. The action falls under unfair labor practices of firing a union supporter or someone trying to form a union. The National Labor Relations Board steps in to clarify the statute that a worker could not be fired because they criticize their employer under the National Labor Relations Act. The National Labor Relations Board states a example of it clarifying statement, That act gives workers a federally protected right to form unions, and it prohibits employers from punishing workers — whether union or nonunion — for discussing working conditions or unionization. The labor board said the company’s Facebook rule was overly broad and improperly limited employees’ rights to discuss working conditions among themselves. In summary if we are guaranteed freedom of speech, should always trump business’ restrictive policies on speech (Greenhouse, 2010)
3. Describe the process of establishing and decertifying a collective bargaining unit in the workplace. Initiating an Organizing Drive
The first step in establishing a union in the workplace is to begin by initiating an organizing drive. There are three possible initiators of an organizing a drive: one or more employees, a union, or an employer (Budd, 2009 , p. 188) Then you must first find out if your co-workers want to form a union by gauging their interest by quietly talking to a few trusted co-workers who you think may be interested in improving the workplace. Create a representative group of co-workers, usually called an Organizing Committee to make sure your efforts to form a union succeed. The Organizing Committee educates fellow workers about the benefits of unionizing and your rights under the law. The Organizing Committee should consist of people from every department in your workplace and should be representative of all races, genders, and ethnicities. The committee then should gather an employee list, as well as information about your employer.” (How To Organize A Labor Union At Your Workplace, 2010) Building and Documenting Support
The second step in establishing a union in the workplace is to begin building and documenting support. You must document a minimum of 30% of your fellow employees who have to shown interest in forming a union at your workplace. This next step is most likely accomplished by the signing of Authorization Cards or simply A Cards by the employee. By virtue of your signature, the A Card signifies that you desire for the union to represent you for the purpose of collective bargaining. However if you garner more than 50% of the workplace showing interest in being represented by a union you may request that the employer recognize your union. Subsequently if the employer refuses to voluntary recognize the labor union, there are alternates to be recognized by the employer available.
Alternates to Voluntary Recognition
The third step in establishing a union in the workplace is to begin using alternates to voluntary recognition. After the majority of the employees have decided to join the union, your employer will either recognize the union or refuse to recognize it. The alternative for a union to recognize by an employer is by launching a recognition strike. A recognition strike is a strike used by employees to make an employer recognize their labor union. This strike cannot last more than thirty days without the risk of being replaced. The Landrum Griffin Act created alternative to strike for union to be recognized by filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to hold elections to certify the labor union. The board will then decide who is eligible to vote and they will schedule the election.
File Election Petition
The next step can be either third or fourth step in establishing a union in the workplace, this step is done by filing a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), to hold election. You must request the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is an impartial government agency, to hold a secret ballot election. Once it is determined that the bargaining unit is appropriate and that no supervisors or management are included, a date will be set by the NLRB for the election, usually 5 to 7 weeks out.
Hold National Labor Relations Board Elections
The next step can be either fourth or fifth step in establishing a union in the workplace, this final step is done by workers in favor of the union. The pro-union worker will have to campaign to keep pro-union workers and take steps to win over any workers who are against the union. If the union wins the election, by law the employer must recognize and bargain with the union. The National Labor Relations Board is responsible for setting up polling places, usually on the employer’s property. The National Labor Relations Board is also responsible and supervising the election. By casting a paper ballot into a ballot box is the usual median that employees vote. At the end of the voting period the polls are closed and the ballots are counted right on the spot. The union must win the majority of the votes to be declared the winner. The opposite of a certification election is a decertification election. This type of election is used to determine whether a majority of unionized employees no longer wish to be represented by their union (Budd, 2009 , p. 192) To request such an election, at least 30 percent of the employees must file a decertification petition asserting that the currently certified union no longer represents the employees in the bargaining unit before it can be considered by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
To decertify a union, the union representation must have been effect for more than a year and the decertification petition has to be filed during a timeframe of 60 to 90 days before the expiration on the union contract, although healthcare workers are afforded addition time for decertification and that window is 90 to 120 days prior to the expiration of their union contracts. According to Ohio Hospital Association’s information on the decertification process it is regarded as ‘The general rule for unions with a negotiated contract in place is that a decertification petition can only be filed 60 to 90 days prior to the expiration of the contract (or every three years, whichever comes first). For health care employees, this window is 90 to 120 days prior to the expiration of the contract (Ohio Hospital Association) The National Labor Relations Board require that all decertification is free from managerial influences , and that all signatures on the petition were collected during non-work time and off the worksite.
After the National Labor Relations Board verifies the signatures on the decertification petition, a decertification election is scheduled in approximately 60 days. The union will be decertified if a majority of the members vote against being represented by the union as it bargaining unit. In an article by Aaron Kuriloff he quotes the NFL’s position that the NFLPA is using decertification as a tactic to get a better labor contract. The NFL said the union’s threat to decertify is a ploy and an unlawful subversion of the collective bargaining process, there being no evidence whatsoever of any (let alone widespread) dissatisfaction with the union by its members (Kuriloff, 2011 ) Free agency was created when the union was decertified after the 1987 strike. The NFL owners just want the NFLPA to bargain in good faith and the NFLPA also want the same with more revenue sharing.
4. Describe the process of administering a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to include the role and function of an arbitrator. What are the issues, and how are they handled? Through the process of collective bargaining, employers and unions negotiate terms and conditions of employment and put these terms in a written contract, also called collective bargaining agreements. (Budd, 2009 , p. 229) During the process of administering a collective bargaining agreement the employer and union are obligated to meet at reasonable times to negotiate in good faith about mandatory bargaining items. Mandatory bargaining items are wages, hours, vacation time, insurance, safety practices and the terms and conditions of employment. According to the National Labor Relations Act if either party to refuses to bargain collectively with each other, it is considered an unfair labor practice, however parties are not forced to reach an agreement or make any allowances.
The collective bargaining process comprises of five core steps: Prepare: This phase involves composition of a negotiation team. The negotiation team should consist of representatives of both the parties with adequate knowledge and skills for negotiation. In this phase both the employer’s representatives and the union examine their own situation in order to develop the issues that they believe will be most important. The first thing to be done is to determine whether there is actually any reason to negotiate at all. A correct understanding of the main issues to be covered and intimate knowledge of operations, working conditions, production norms and other relevant conditions is required. Discuss: Here, the parties decide the ground rules that will guide the negotiations. A process well begun is half done and this is no less true in case of collective bargaining. An environment of mutual trust and understanding is also created so that the collective bargaining agreement would be reached.
Propose: This phase involves the initial opening statements and the possible options that exist to resolve them. In a word, this phase could be described as ‘brainstorming’. The exchange of messages takes place and opinion of both the parties is sought. Bargain: negotiations are easy if a problem solving attitude is adopted. This stage comprises the time when ‘what ifs’ and ‘supposals’ are set forth and the drafting of agreements take place. Settlement: Once the parties are through with the bargaining process, a consensual agreement is reached upon wherein both the parties agree to a common decision regarding the problem or the issue. This stage is described as consisting of effective joint implementation of the agreement through shared visions, strategic planning and negotiated change. (Collective Bargaining Process, 2007) According to the website Industrial Relations Home Collective Bargaining Process the collective bargaining process comprises of five core steps; in which are Prepare, Discuss, Propose, Bargain, and Settlement.
The first process of preparing is getting your team together; the second step is discussing the grievances, common concerns and goals; the third step is proposing the methods on how to solve grievances, common concerns and goals; the fourth step is bargaining to reach an agreement that all parties can abide by; the final step is making a settlement on the terms of the contract.
Budd, J. W. ( 2009 ). Labor Relations: Striking a Balance. New York: McGraw-Hill. MLBPA. (2014). History of the major league baseball players association. Retrieved from http://mlb.mlb.com/pa/info/history.jsp Kuriloff, A. (2011). NFL Files Unfair-Labor Practices Complaint Against Union in Contract Talks. Retrieved February 19, 2011, from Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-14/nfl-files-unfair-labor-practice-char
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