Bargaining Structure The structure of bargaining is a broad concept referring to the group or groups of employees and employers who help determine or are affected by a collective agreement.
Bargaining Structure Bargaining structure can be thought of as consisting of FOUR COMPONENTS which are not necessarily distinct: Informal Work Group Election Unit Negotiations Unit Unit of Direct Impact
Informal Work Group Workers that would have a tendency to have a common view of their work environment. It may consist of workers in one or more occupations that come into frequent contact with each other
Election Unit A group or groups of workers that the NLRB feels is an appropriate one for the purpose of collective bargaining. It is the certified bargaining unit, and it may consist of one or more informal work groups
Election Unit There are three categories of Election Units: Single-employer, Single-location Single-employer, Multi-location Multi-employer
Negotiations Unit The Negotiations Unit can be the same as the Election Unit, but if both parties agree to a broader bargaining unit the Negotiations Unit can include more than one Election Unit.
Negotiations Unit Negotiations Units may encompass multiple Election Units in a single plant, several plants of the same employer, or among more than one employer. Typically such units involve workers organized by the same union. Coalition bargaining is an exception.
Unit of Direct Impact Extends beyond the boundaries of negotiations units. It may cover more than one industry, as when settlements by auto companies have a direct impact on auto parts companies.
The Appropriate Bargaining Unit Before a unit can be elected and certified as a representative of a group of employees, the NLRB must determine the appropriate bargaining unit that the union is to represent.
The Appropriate Bargaining Unit If the union and employer can agree on which employees should be in the Election Unit, the board will run the election in that unit. Absent that agreement the responsibility for selecting the appropriate unit rest entirely with the board.
Unit Determination Standards Since the law provides few guidelines for unit determination, the board has developed its own: Mutuality or community of interests Geography or physical proximity Employers’ administrative / territorial division
Unit Determination Standards Functional integration Interchange of employees Bargaining history Employee desires Extent of organization Other guidelines may be considered
Board Limitations on Certifications The only limitation on the board’s authority with respect to its unit certification powers relates specifically to Professional, Craft, and Guard employees.
Professional Employees The board is not allowed to include both professional and nonprofessional employees in the same unit unless a majority of such professional employees vote for inclusion in such unit.
Craft Employees The board is prohibited from deciding that any craft unit is inappropriate for such purposes on the ground that a different unit has been established by a prior board determination.
Guards The board is not permitted to certify guards in the same unit as nonguards.
Additional Observation on Certifications The board is not required to seek and certify the “most appropriate or optimal unit” The board certifies units based on the “jobs” or “job classifications” and not on specific individuals employed in these classifications.
Additional Observation on Certifications And (to be somewhat redundant) Membership in the unit and in the union are not necessarily the same.
The Craft Bargaining Unit The NLRB has defined a true craft unit as a distinct and homogeneous group of skilled journeymen, craftsmen, working as such, together with apprentices and/or helpers.
The Craft Bargaining Unit From the point of view of Industrial Unions, it is not desirable to permit craft workers separate representations.
The Craft Bargaining Unit However, The bargaining status of craft employees within a firm depends on the nature of the craft, type of industry, collective bargaining history in the industry, and, most important, on the policies and practices of the NLRB.
The Craft Bargaining Unit Employers have a general bias toward bargaining with as few unions as possible. Bargaining with multiple units increases costs and makes it more difficult to plan reliable production and marketing schedules.
The NLRB and Craft Bargaining Craft bargaining unit cases can be divided into two broad categories: Initial Certification Severance Cases
The NLRB and Craft Bargaining In both instances, the NLRB has to decide whether the craft satisfies the appropriate criteria for certification. It should be noted, however, that it is easier for a craft to gain separate certification rights when there is no successful history of collective bargaining within the context of a larger unit.
Craft Certification Criteria The craft employees are unrepresented. They are engaged in traditional craft work that is performed in a separate and distinct location apart from other employees. They have a separate community of interests and do not interchange with other employees. The union seeking recognition is a craft union traditionally representing the craft in question.
Craft Certification Criteria The board, confronted with the dilemma between the right of self-determination of craft employees and a potential threat to stability in industrial relations, will typically opt for stability.
Significance of Board Certification Decisions The certification not only acts as a catalyst to collective bargaining, but it also influences collective bargaining outcomes. Although the parties are free to expand bargaining beyond the unit selected by the board this initial selection by the board establishes the required basis for bargaining.
Significance of Board Certification Decisions A union considers several factors when deciding on its desired unit: The predominant factor seems to be its ability to win and election. Sometimes it’s agreeing to the employers desired unit in order to get a quick election A third set of factors involves attempts to maximize the unit’s potential bargainingpower.
Significance of Board Certification Decisions Employers favor election units in which it would be difficult for a union to organize and obtain a majority. Employers usually favor large election units primarily because it is more difficult for unions to win elections in such units. There is less solidarity in large units, and Management has more staffing flexibility when all of its employees are in one large unit.
Significance of Board Certification Decisions In the end, which side has the upper hand in determining size of bargaining units may depend on the boards political coloration at the moment.
The Structure of Collective Bargaining in the United States Two thirds (66.6%) of employees covered by collective bargaining agreements in the United States are in situations where the actual negotiation area, represented by the people sitting at the bargaining table, is different from the area covered by the NLRB Certification.
Bargaining Structure Union and Management Interests Union bargaining interest is described as being either narrow, as in a craft union representing workers with a narrow group of skills, or broad, as in an industrial union representing all employees in an industry.
Bargaining Structure Union and Management Interests Management interests are either centralized, as in multiemployer or single-employer multiplant negotiations, or decentralized, as in single-employer, single-plant bargaining.
Determinants of Bargaining Structure The term bargaining structure denotes a multiplicity of units tied together in a complicated network of relationships by social, legal, administrative and economic factors.
Market Factors Both employers and unions take into account the market context when devising the dimensions of bargaining structures. Under conditions of sever product market competition, some employers have opted for multiemployer bargaining to reduce at least one aspect of competitive pressure.
Bargaining Issues and Structures Bargaining issues can be classified as: Market-wide - (wages) Company-wide - (benefits) Local - (plant rules) Current tend is toward more decentralized bargaining - more emphasis on productivity and job security.
Representational Factors Individual firms and unions are sometimes willing to enter into comprehensive alliances in order to increase their bargaining power.
The Impact of Government The bargaining unit decisions of the NLRB undoubtedly shape and influence the characteristics and nature of the present bargaining structure.
Power Tactics Each party seeks to develop bargaining structures that would maximize their bargaining power. Multiplant employers engaged in the production of the same product in a number of plants, would typically opt for a structure that consists of individual single-plant bargaining units. Vertically integrated production units would incline the employer in the opposite direction. And of course the union would object.
Individual Employee Influence Individual influence is perhaps greatest in narrow, decentralized bargaining units where the union represents only one occupation and negotiations are with a single employer, perhaps at the plant level.
The Multiemployer Bargaining Unit When a number of employers join forces for purposes of collective bargaining, the unit structure is described as a multiemployer bargaining unit. Sometimes agreements negotiated by a few large employers are also signed by smaller employers, who may agree to essentially the same terms as those approved by a larger employer.
The Multiemployer Bargaining Unit The primary form of bargaining in the Transportation, Food Products and, Apparel Industries
Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining Competitive pressures are the dominant force encouraging both unions and employers to enter into multiemployer or industry-wide bargaining relationships.
Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining Small employers in highly competitive and labor-intense fields may find it easier to operate with uniformity of labor costs.
Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining The multiemployer unit is particularly advantageous to both sides in industries composed of many small, financially weak employers. (Neutralize the cost of benefits.)
Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining Multiemployer bargaining provides both unions and management with significant cost savings in negotiation of labor agreements.
Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining On the down side, multiemployer bargaining may overlook the needs of various employee groups, and ignore particular requirements of individual employers. (causing high levels of internal stress)
Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining It should also be noted that multiemployer agreements are much more difficult to conclude than the single-employer contracts.
Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining In some multiemployer units, master contracts cover only items such as wages and major benefits, with other issues negotiated at the local level.
Bargaining Power in the Multiemployer Unit There are a number of reasons for employers’ forming multiemployer units: Some give up power to lessen competition in the product market, or to achieve industrial peace and greater stability in labor relations.