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Chapter 14. Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining. Chapter 14 Outline. The labor movement A brief history of the American union movement Why do workers organize? Research insight What do unions want? Union security Improved wages, hours, and benefits for members The AFL-CIO.

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Chapter 14 l.jpg

Chapter 14

Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

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Chapter 14 Outline

  • The labor movement

    • A brief history of the American union movement

    • Why do workers organize?

      • Research insight

    • What do unions want?

      • Union security

      • Improved wages, hours, and benefits for members

    • The AFL-CIO

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Chapter 14 Outline

  • Unions and the law

    • Period of strong encouragement: The Norris-LaGuardia (1932) and National Labor Relations or Wagner Acts (1935)

      • Unfair employer labor practices

      • From 1935 to 1947

    • Period of modified encouragement coupled with regulation: The Taft-Hartley Act (1947)

      • Unfair union labor practices

      • Rights of employees

      • Rights of employers

      • National emergency strikes

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Chapter 14 Outline

  • Unions and the law (cont.)

    • Period of detailed regulation of internal union affairs: The Landrum- Griffin Act (1959)

    • Entrepreneur’s HR: Dot-coms and unions

  • The union drive and election

    • Step 1. Initial contact

      • Labor relations consultants

      • Union salting

    • Step 2. Obtaining authorization cards

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Chapter 14 Outline

  • The union drive and election (cont.)

    • Step 3. Hold a hearing

    • Step 4. The campaign

    • Step 5. The election

    • How to lose an NLRB Election

    • The supervisor’s role

    • Rules regarding literature and solicitation

    • The new workplace: Unions go global

    • Decertification elections: Ousting the union

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Chapter 14 Outline

  • The collective bargaining process

    • What is collective bargaining?

    • What is good faith?

    • The negotiating team

    • Bargaining items

    • Bargaining stages

    • Bargaining hints

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Chapter 14 Outline

  • The collective bargaining process (cont.)

    • Impasses, mediation, and strikes

      • Third-party involvement

      • Strikes

      • Other alternatives

    • The contract agreement

    • Strategic HR: and unionization

  • Grievances

    • Sources of grievances

    • The grievance procedure

    • Guidelines for handling grievances

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Chapter 14 Outline

  • The future of unionism

    • Why union membership is declining

    • What’s next for unions?

    • Unions and the Internet

    • Employee participation programs and unions

  • Summary

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After Studying This Chapter You Should Be Able To:

  • Give a brief history of the American labor movement

  • Discuss the main features of at least three major pieces of labor legislation

  • Present examples of what to expect during the union drive and election

  • Describe five ways to lose an NLRB election

  • Illustrate with examples bargaining that is not in good faith

  • Develop a grievance procedure

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Strategic Overview

  • How to deal effectively with unions and grievances

  • The basics of labor legislations

  • Explain labor negotiations

  • What you can expect during the actual bargaining sessions

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The Labor Movement

  • 16 Million U.S. workers belong to unions – about 14% of all working men and women

US 14%

Canada 37%

Why are unions important?

How did they get that way?

Mexico 43%

Why do workers join them?

Brazil 44%

How do employers and unions hammer out agreements?

Japan 24%

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Union History

  • 1790

  • Samuel Gompers formed the American Federation of Labor - AFL

  • Decline and growth

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Why Organize?

  • Weekly earnings of union members are much higher than of nonunion workers

  • Better benefits

  • Low morale, fear of job loss, and poor communication help foster unionization

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Research Insight

  • Dissatisfaction with basic bread-and- butter issues

  • Not non-economic issues

  • Workers must feel helpless to change things

  • If they collectively feel change can occur then unionization may occur

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What Do Unions Want?

  • Security

    • Closed shop

    • Union shop

    • Agency shop

    • Open shop

    • Maintenance of membership arrangement

  • Improved wages, hours, and benefits

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  • Gompers’ AFL and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) merged in 1955, with George Meany as its first president

3 Union Layers



National federation

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Unions And The Law1932-1947

  • Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932

  • National Labor Relations (or Wagner) Act

    • Banned certain unfair labor practices

    • Provided for secret-ballot elections

    • Created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

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Wagner Act

  • Deemed five unfair labor practices used by employers as “statutory wrongs”:

    • Right to organize

    • Formation or administration of labor unions

    • Discrimination for legal union activities

    • Employees file charges

    • Must bargain collectively

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Unions And The Law 1947 – The Taft-Hartley Act

  • Amended Wagner Act in 4 ways:

    • Prohibit unfair labor practices

    • Rights of employees

    • Rights of employers

    • Some strikes can be prohibited

NLRB form 501

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Unfair Labor Practices

  • Unions banned from restraining or coercing employees from exercising their own bargaining rights

  • Can’t make an employer discriminate

  • Can’t refuse to bargain in good faith

  • Can’t engage in featherbedding

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Taft-Hartley Act RightsEmployees

  • Protects rights of employees against unions

  • Right-to-work laws sprang up in 19 mostly southern states

  • Union membership varies by state

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Taft-Hartley Act Rightsof Employers

  • Freedom to express their views

  • Can set forth the union’s record

  • Cannot meet with employees on company time within 24 hours of an election

  • Suggest they vote against the union while they are at home

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Unions And The Law 1959 - Landrum-Griffin Act

  • A period of detailed regulation of internal union affairs

  • Bill of rights and due process

  • Rules regarding union elections

  • Greatly expanded list of unlawful employer actions

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Entrepreneurs+HR –Dot.coms and Unions

  • Not immune to unionization

  • Many dot.coms doing old company tasks

  • Benefits evaporated after bubble broke

  • Many are overly lax

  • Don’t lose touch with your employees

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Union Drive and Election

  • 5 Steps to recognition and representation

Initial Contact


Authorization Cards

Hold Hearing

The Campaign

The Election

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Step 1. Initial Contact

  • Determine employee interest

  • Rules say can’t endanger the performance or safety of the employees

  • Both sides use labor relations consultants

  • Union salting

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Step 2. Obtaining Authorization Cards

  • Union must petition NLRB to hold an election

  • 30% must sign authorization cards

  • Propaganda phase

  • Picketing subject to:

    • Petition for election

    • Cannot already recognize another union

    • No valid NLRB election during past 12 months

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Step 3. Hold a Hearing

  • NLRB hearing addresses:

    • Does record show sufficient interest

    • What bargaining unit will be

No contest –

No hearing –

Consent election

No contest –

No hearing –


Contest –

Hearing held

NLRB hearing notice

Does the employer qualify for coverage by the NLRB?

Is union recognized by National Labor Relations Act?

Does prior bargaining agreement prevent an election?

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Step 4. The Campaign

  • Let the campaign begin!

  • Union says it will prevent unfairness and improve wages

  • Management says union promises won’t make any difference

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Step 5. The Election

  • Election held 30-60 Days after NLRB issues decision

  • Secret ballot

  • Union wins if they get majority of votes cast

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How to Lose an NLRB Election

  • Employers lost ½ of the elections because:

    • Asleep at the switch

    • Appointed a committee

    • Concentrated on money and benefits

    • Industry blind spots

    • Delegate too much to divisions

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Appointing a Committee

  • 36% of losing companies appointed committees to handle the election

  • Promptness is essential

  • Most members are NLRB neophytes

  • Committees usually compromise

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The Supervisor’s Role

  • First line of defense

  • Sensitive to evolving employee attitude problems

  • Treat employees fairly and honestly

  • Supervisors must know possible consequences

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Literature and Solicitation Rules

  • Soliciting employees during work time

  • No soliciting except break times

  • Bar non-employees from the building’s interiors and work areas

  • Deny access for safety, production or discipline reasons

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The New Workplace -Global Unions

  • Can’t avoid unions by going abroad

  • Trading partnerships lets union membership span countries

  • U.S. owned offshore factories are organizing

  • Raising offshore wages removes impetus to relocate factories


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Ousting the Union


  • Decertificationis the legal process for employees to terminate a union’s right to represent them

  • Handled much like certification process


Unions win 30%

Management wins 70%

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What is collective bargaining?


  • Collective bargainingThe process through which representatives of management and the union meet to negotiate a labor agreement.

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Good Faith

  • Good faith bargaining is the cornerstone

  • Both parties communicate and negotiate

  • The following are not good faith methods:





Inadequate proposals

and demands





Making unilateral

changes in conditions



Bypassing the


Committing unfair



bargaining items

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The Negotiating Team

  • Both sides come to bargaining table having done their homework

  • Management compiles data that bolsters its case

  • Workers have issues they need resolved

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Bargaining Items

  • Mandatory

  • Voluntary or permissible

  • Illegal

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Present Demands

Reduce Demands

Subcommittee Study

Informal Settlement

Formal Agreement

Bargaining Stages

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Bargaining Hints

Set clear objectives for each bargaining item

Do not hurry

When in doubt, caucus with associates

Have firm data supporting your position

Keep some flexibility in your position

Control your emotions

Find out why other party says what it does

Let other party save face

Be a good listener

Determine real intentions of others

Monitor objectives

Build a reputation as being fair but firm

All about compromise

Know bargaining interrelationships

Read fine print

Understand people

Consider impact in future years

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Impasses and Mediation


  • Impasse - collective bargaining situation that occurs when the parties are not able to move toward a settlement

  • Mediation - intervention in which a neutral third party tries to assist the principals in reaching agreement

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Impasses and Mediation


  • Fact finder - a neutral party who studies the issues in a dispute and makes a public recommendation for a reasonable settlement

  • Arbitration - the most definitive type of third-party intervention, in which the arbitrator usually has the power to determine and dictate the settlement terms

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  • 4 Main types of strikes:

    • Economic – results from failure to get contract

    • Union labor practice – protests illegal conduct

    • Wildcat – unauthorized

    • Sympathy – in support of another strike

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Minimizing Strike Confusion

  • Pay

  • Secure

  • Notify

  • Contact

  • Arrange

  • Notify

  • Photograph

  • Record

  • Gather

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  • Corporate campaign

  • Boycott

  • Inside games

  • Lockout

  • Injunction

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May be 20-30 pages or more

Covers general declarations of policy

Often contains detailed rules

The Contract Agreement

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  • Grievance - any factor involving wages, hours, or conditions of employment that is used as a complaint against the employer

    • Most serious and difficult involve discipline, seniority, and job evaluations

    • Usually caused by a bad supervisor – subordinate relationship

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Common Grievances

  • Absenteeism

  • Insubordination

  • Overtime

  • Plant rules

Watch the

grievance video

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Grievance Procedures

  • Representatives discuss complaint

  • If unsolved, 3rd party arbiter hears case

  • Most contracts contain specific grievance procedures

  • A simple one is 2 steps

Grievance form

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Do’s for Handling Grievances

  • Investigate each case

  • Talk with the employee

  • Union must identify specific provisions

  • Comply with the time limits

  • Visit the work area

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Do’s for Handling Grievances

  • Were there any witnesses?

  • Examine personnel records

  • Prior grievance records

  • The union representative as an equal

  • Private grievance discussions

  • Fully inform your own supervisor

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Don’ts for Handling Grievances

  • Discuss the case

  • Make arrangements with individual employee

  • Hold back the remedy

  • Admit to past practices

  • Relinquish your rights as a manager

  • Settle grievances based on what is “fair”

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Don’ts for Handling Grievances

  • Bargain over items not covered

  • Treat claims demanding the discipline or discharge of managers

  • Give long written answers

  • Trade a settlement for a withdrawal

  • Deny grievances because “your hands have been tied by management”

  • Agree to informal amendments

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1970 - 22%

Why Unions Are Declining?

  • Shift of workforce to white-collar jobs

  • Permanent layoffs of millions of jobs caused by relocating jobs elsewhere

  • EEO laws enacted which offer many rights previously negotiated

2000 - 14%

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HR.Net – Unions and the Internet

  • Unions e-mail announcements

  • Reach supporters and government

  • Web sites help in unionizing campaigns

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Employee Participation Programs

  • Preventing the perception of “sham unions”

    • Involve employees

    • Address issues like quality and productivity

    • Not when unions are organizing

    • Use volunteers and rotate frequently

    • Do not dominate committees

    • Minimize daily oversight

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Chapter 14 Summary

  • Major union milestone was creation of the AFL in 1886 by Samuel Gompers

  • Unions have been courting white-collar workers as blue-collar membership declines

  • Unions seek improved wages, working conditions, and security

  • We discussed the closed shop, union shop, agency shop, open shop, and maintenance of membership

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Chapter 14 Summary

  • The Norris-LaGuardia Act and the Wagner Act marked a shift in labor law from repression to strong encouragement of union activity

  • The Taft-Hartley Act reflected the period of modified encouragement coupled with regulation

  • Can you name some things the Taft-Hartley act enumerated?

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Chapter 14 Summary

  • The Landrum-Griffin Act reflected the period of detailed regulationof internal union affairs

  • Can you name the five steps in a union drive and election?

  • Can you list at least five surefire ways to lose an NLRB election?

  • Bargaining collectively in good faith is the next step if and when the union wins an election

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Chapter 14 Summary

  • How are bargaining items categorized?

  • Third-party involvement—namely, arbitration, fact-finding, or mediation—is one alternative when bargaining breaks down

  • Grievance handling has been called day-to-day collective bargaining

  • Most agreements contain a carefully worded grievance procedure ranging from two to six or more steps