Seniority
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SENIORITY. The application of the criterion of length of service for the determination of determination of benefits received (benefits seniority); and

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SENIORITY

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Seniority

SENIORITY

  • The application of the criterion of length of service for the determination of

    • determination of benefits received (benefits seniority); and

    • relative status among employees with respect to their competing claims to jobs and employment-relatedprerogatives within the collectively determined scope of the application of the criterion (competitive status seniority)

  • Used to facilitate operation of the internal labor markets

    • Focus on incumbents


Issues in seniority

Issues in Seniority

  • How Acquired

    • Generally after a probationary period

    • “seniority employee”

  • Legal Status

    • Limited to Collective Agreement

    • No Independent Legal Status


Functions of seniority

Functions of Seniority

  • Affirmative

    • allocate ee claims and establish priorities among conflicting claims

      • other possible criteria include skill, ability

    • Creates a set of rules for making decisions in allocating labor

  • Negative

    • Elimination of favoritism, capriciousness, and arbitrariness


Uses of seniority

Uses of Seniority

  • Assignment to “Better” Jobs

    • Job Territory for the Union

    • Advantages to Incumbents

    • “Objective” Criterion

  • Determine Incidence of Job Loss

    • Who shall be laid off

    • What is bumping sequence, if any?

  • Acquisition of Benefits


Two uses for seniority

Two Uses for Seniority

  • Competitive Status

  • Benefit


Seniority unit

Seniority Unit

  • For Competitive Status Seniority

    • Firm

    • Plant

    • Department

    • Classification

    • Job Line or Progression


Interests of parties

Interests of Parties

  • Employer

    • Traditional - Narrow Units

      • Permits ees to develop intensive job skills

      • Minimizes movement around in event of vacancies

      • Preferred for Layoffs, minimizes bumping

    • Modern - Broader Units

      • Multi-Skilling

      • Increases workforce flexibility

  • Union

    • Generally broader units to give employees more options

    • Exception may be skilled trades where union under pressure to maintain identity


Seniority in promotions

Seniority in Promotions

  • Sole Factor - Seldom

  • Primary Factor

    • “Head and Shoulders” principle

    • Goes to most senior ee if ee “qualified”

  • Secondary Factor

    • Seniority used if other factors are “relatively equal”

  • Generally associated with posting and bidding provisions


Seniority in layoffs

Seniority in Layoffs

  • More likely to be primary criterion than in promotions

    • especially where jobs initially filled by primary ability criterion

  • Bumping (exercise of seniority rights to displace junior ees)

    • ER: prefers narrow bumping rights

    • UN: Prefers broader bumping rights

  • Retention of Seniority During Layoffs

  • Recall Rights


Sample provisions

Sample Provisions

  • Contract 1

    • “Length of service shall govern in layoff and recalling employees.  Layoff shall be with the most junior employee laid off first and recalled last; provided, however, ability to perform the available work shall be required.”

    • “Job openings shall be offered to qualified applicants in seniority order.  A reasonable probation period of up to ninety (90) days shall be in effect for the Company or the employee to determine if the employee return to their original position.”

  • Contract 2

    • “Whenever promotions are made to higher rated jobs, . . ., they shall be made on the basis of the most senior qualified employee in the line of progression in the occupational group in which the promotions are made.”

    • Whenever promotions are made to the highest labor grade in the occupational group and all working leader positions, they shall be made of the basis of the coequal standards of seniority, ability, and fitness of the employee.”“


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