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15. Working with Organized Labor. Challenges. Why do employees join unions? What agencies and laws regulate labor practices? What is union organizing, collective bargaining and contract administration? What is the managerial and HR role in resolving union grievances?. What is a Union?.

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working with organized labor


Working with Organized Labor

  • Why do employees join unions?
  • What agencies and laws regulate labor practices?
  • What is union organizing, collective bargaining and contract administration?
  • What is the managerial and HR role in resolving union grievances?
what is a union
What is a Union?

Unions – An organization that represents employees’ interests to management on such issues as wages, work hours, and working conditions

why do employee s join unions
Why do Employee’s Join Unions?
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Employees lack influence with management to make needed changes
role of the manager in labor relations
Role of the Manager in Labor Relations
  • Labor Relations Specialists
  • Managers:
    • day-to-day labor-management relations
    • Need to understand workplace issues associated with unions:
      • Unions start where employees are dissatisfied
      • If there is a union managers are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the labor agreement
      • Need to have a basic understanding of the labor laws so as to not create a liability
labor relations and the legal environment
Labor Relations and the Legal Environment

Laws enacted to try and balance:

wa gner act national labor relations act 1935
Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act) (1935)
  • Designed to protect employee rights to form and join unions
  • Created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB):
    • Administer certification elections
    • Prevent and remedy unlawful acts (unfair labor practices)
    • Identified 5 illegal labor practices
wa gner act national labor relations act 19351
Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act) (1935)

Five illegal labor practices:

  • Do not keep employees from forming unions or collective bargaining
  • Do not dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of a union or provide financial support for union
  • Do not discriminate against employee to encourage or discourage union membership
  • Do not discharge or discriminate against employee who filed charges (gave testimony) under Act
  • Do not refuse to bargain collectively with the union that employees chose
taft hartley act 1947
Taft Hartley Act (1947)
  • Designed to limit some of the power unions acquired under the Wagner Act
  • Right-to-work law (most controversial) – a state law that makes it illegal within that state for a union to include a union shop clause in its contract (currently 22 states)
  • Made closed shops illegal (Landrum-Griffin Act later made an exception for the construction industry)
  • Allows for decertification of a union
  • Created the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
taft hartley act 19471
Taft Hartley Act (1947)

Six unfair union labor practices:

  • Cannot influence employer’s choice of representation in collective bargaining
  • Causing or attempting to cause an employer to discriminate against any employee who is not a member of the union
  • Refusing to bargain with employer in good faith
  • Asking or requiring its members to boycott products made by a firm engaged in a labor dispute with another union
  • Never charge employees excessive or discriminatory union dues as a condition of membership
  • Never ask an employer to pay for services that are not performed
landrum griffin act 1959
Landrum-Griffin Act(1959)

Designed to protect union members and their participation in union affairs, allows the government to regulate union activities:

  • Each union has a bill of rights to ensure minimum standards of internal union democracy
  • Each union must give their constitution to Department of Labor
  • Each union must report its financial activities and financial interests of leaders to Department of Labor
  • Union elections are regulated by government
  • Union leaders have fiduciary responsibility to use union money and property for the membership, not for own personal gain
new proposed legislation
New Proposed Legislation

Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) - Amend the Wagner Act (NLRA)

  • Change the currently existing procedure to require the NLRB to certify the union as the bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of employees signed cards
  • It would take away employers' present ability to decide whether to use only the card-check process or to hold a secret-ballot election
  • The proposed legislation would also establish stricter penalties for employers who violate provisions of the NLRA when workers seek to form a union, and set in place new mediation and arbitration procedures for disputes
labor relations in the us
Labor Relations in the US
  • Business unionism
  • Unions structured by type of job
  • Focus on collective bargaining – work rules
  • Labor contracts
  • The adversarial nature of labor – management relations and shrinking union membership
  • The growth of unions in the public sector
union membership in the united states 1930 2000
Union Membership in the United States, 1930 - 2000























how unions differ globally
How Unions Differ Globally
  • U.S. Unions -- less emphasis on political issues
  • French Unions -- politically involved and less concerned with economic issues
  • Chinese unions -- low in economic, political involvement due to Communist Party
  • Swedish unions -- have a high degree of economic, political involvement
  • Labor relations in Germany
  • Labor relations in Japan
labor relations policy union acceptance strategy
Labor Relations Policy – Union Acceptance Strategy

Management chooses to view union and its employees as legitimate representatives and accepts collective bargaining as an appropriate mechanism for establishing workplace rules.

union avoidance strategy
Union Avoidance Strategy
  • Management tries to prevent its employees from joining a union, either by removing the incentive to unionize or by using hardball tactics
    • Union Substitution Strategy
    • Union Suppression Strategy
3 phases of labor relations
3 Phases of Labor Relations
  • Union organizing:
    • Union solicitation
    • Pre-election conduct
    • Certification election
  • Collective bargaining
  • Contract administration
union organizing
Union Organizing

Union Solicitation:

  • Union needs at least 30% of employees to sign authorization cards to show NLRB there is a significant interest in organizing
  • Union web sites have organizing information
  • Some companies have no-solicitation rules
union organizing1
Union Organizing

Pre-election conduct:

  • Management cannot
    • Threaten
    • Intimidate
    • Promise
    • Conduct surveillance
union organizing2
Union Organizing

Pre-election conduct:

  • Management can:
    • Make speeches as to why union not needed
    • Employ a consultant
    • Send personal letters to employees
    • Show videos and other material portraying union negatively
    • Summarize and communicate all the good things company has done for employees
union organizing3
Union Organizing

Certification Election

  • Supervised by NLRB
  • If vote is against union, can’t hold another election for 12 months
good faith bargaining behavior
Good Faith Bargaining Behavior
  • Both parties meet and confer with each other at reasonable time and place
  • Both parties negotiate over wages, hours and conditions of employment (mandatory topics)
  • Both parties sign a written contract that formalizes their agreement
  • Each party gives the other a 60-day notice of termination or modification of the labor agreement before it expires
bargaining power
Bargaining Power
  • Distributive bargaining
  • Integrative bargaining
    • Attempt to understand the other negotiator’s real needs and objectives
    • Create a free flow of information
    • Emphasize the commonalities, and minimize the differences, between the parties
    • Search for solutions that meet both parties’ goals and objectives
    • Develop flexible responses to the other negotiators proposals
impasse in bargaining
Impasse in Bargaining
  • Economic Strike
  • Wildcat Strike
  • Lockout
contract administration union grievance procedure
Contract AdministrationUnion Grievance Procedure

Employee with

a Grievance



Verbal Presentation

Written Grievance










National Union


and Local Union



impact of unions on hr management
Impact of Unions on HR Management
  • Staffing
  • Employee Development
  • Compensation
  • Employee Relations