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The Dynamics of Labor Relations

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  1. The Dynamics of Labor Relations The Challenges of Human Resources Management

  2. Test Your Labor Relations Know-How

  3. Test Your Labor Relations Know-How (cont.)

  4. The Labor Movement 1790 Skilled craftsmen organize into trade unions. 1869 The Knights of Labor seek social and political reform. 1886 American Federation of Labor pursues bread-and-butter issues and improved working conditions. 1935 National Labor Relations Act fosters organizing and the rapid growth of labor unions. 1947 Taft-Hartley Act regulates union activities. 1955 AFL and CIO merge. 1970s Union membership peaks and begins to steadily decline.

  5. The AFL-CIO • The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) • A voluntary federation of about 56 national and international labor unions in the United States • Structure of the AFL-CIO • Local unions • National unions • National federation • Change to Win Coalition • Six large unions that split from the AFL-CIO

  6. Structure and Functions of the AFL-CIO GENERAL BOARD Executive members and principal officer of each international union affiliate Meets upon call of federation president of executive council Standing committees Staff departments Local unions affiliated directly with AFL-CIO Affiliated national and international unions Affiliated state bodies Local unions of national and international unions Local bodies

  7. Structure and Functions of the AFL-CIO (cont.) • The “House of Labor” • Disseminates labor policy developed by leaders of affiliated unions. • Coordinates organizing activities among affiliated unions. • Provides research and other assistance through its various departments. • Lobbies before legislative bodies on labor subjects • Publicizes the concerns and benefits of unionization • Resolves disputes between different unions

  8. Structure and Functions of National Unions • National Unions • set the broad guidelines for governing union members and for formulating collective bargaining goals in dealing with management • establishes the rules and conditions under which the local unions may be chartered • Other services: • training of union leaders, • legal assistance, • leadership in political activity, • educational and public relations programs, and • discipline of union members.

  9. Structure and Functions of Local Unions Local Union Meeting (Normally Monthly) Business Representative President Secretary/Treasurer Vice-Presidents Sergeant at Arms Various Committee Chairpersons Training and Education Grievance Committee:Chief Steward and Shop Stewards Collective Bargaining Social Local Union Members

  10. Structure and Functions of Local Unions (cont.) • Local Officers • Elected officials who lead the union and serve on the bargaining committee for a new contract. • Union Steward • An employee, as a nonpaid union official, represents the interests of members in their relations with management. • Business Unionism • The term applied to the goals of U.S. labor organizations, which collectively bargain wages, hours, job security, and working conditions.

  11. Why Employees Unionize • As a result of their economic needs(wages and benefits) • Dissatisfaction with managerial practices • To fulfill social and status needs. • Social and leadership concerns • Conditions favoring employee organization • Low morale • Fear of job loss • Arbitrary management actions

  12. Union Bargaining Aims Increased workplace security for the union Improved wages, hours, working conditions, job security, and benefits What Do Unions Want?

  13. Types of Union Security Closed shop Union shop Agency shop Open shop Membership maintenance Union Security

  14. Union Security (cont’d) • Right to Work Laws • Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act • Permits states to ban the requirement of union membership as a condition of employment and to forbid the negotiation of compulsory union membership provisions. • Twenty-three “right to work” states ban all forms of union security which greatly inhibits union formation in those states.

  15. Union Avoidance Practices • Pay • Promote more employees from within • Conduct cultural audits • Offer job rotations and training programs • Share information with employees • Have desirable working conditions

  16. Government Regulation of Labor Relations • Major Labor Laws • Railway Labor Act (RLA) of 1926 • Norris LaGuardia Act (Anti-Injunction Act) • Wagner Act (National labor Relations Act) of 1935 • National Labor Relations Board • Taft-Harley Act (Labor-Management Relations Act) of 1947 • Landrum-Griffin Act (Labor-Management Disclosure Act) of 1959

  17. Government Regulation of Labor Relations (cont.) • Railway Labor Act (RLA) of 1926 • Purpose of the act is to avoid service interruptions resulting from disputes between railroads and their operating unions. • National Mediation Board • National Railway Adjustment Board • Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932 • Restricts the ability of employers to obtain an injunction against unions for their lawful activities.

  18. Wagner (NLRA) Act • Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act)of 1935 • Protects employee rights to organize and bargain collectively through representatives of their choice. • Created the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to govern labor relations in the United States. • Holds secret ballot union representation elections. • Prevents and remedies unfair labor practices.

  19. Wagner (NLRA) Act (cont.) • Section 7 of the Act guarantees employee rights: • To self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through freely chosen representatives. • To engage in concerted activities, for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection. • To refrain from any or all of such activities except to the extent that such right may be affected by an agreement requiring membership in a labor organization as a condition of employment.

  20. Unfair Employer Labor Practices • To “interface with, restrain, or coerce employees” in exercising their right of self-organization • To dominate or interfere with either the formation or the administration of labor unions • To discriminate against employees for legal union activities • To discharge or discriminate against employees who file unfair practice charges against the company • To refuse to bargain collectively with their employees’ representatives

  21. Wagner (NLRA) Act (cont.) • Section 8 of the Wagner Act outlawed employer practices that deny employees their rights and benefits: • Interference with Section 7 rights • Domination of a union (company union) • Discrimination against union members • Arbitrary discharge of union members • Refusal to bargain with the union

  22. Amendments to the Wagner Act • Taft-Hartley Act (The Labor-Management Relations Act) of 1947 • Balances rights and duties of labor and management in collective bargaining by defining unfair union practices. • Created the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to help resolve negotiating disputes. • Landrum-Griffin Act (Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act) of 1959 • Safeguards union member rights and prevents racketeering and other unscrupulous practices by employers and union officers.

  23. Taft-Hartley Act (Unfair Union Practices ) • Unions are prohibited from: • Interfering with Section 7 rights of employees • Interfering with representation elections • Influencing employers to discriminate with regard to union membership • Refusal to bargain collectively with employer • Interference with certified employee representative’s relationship with employer • Assessment of excessive initiation fees and dues on bargaining unit members • “Featherbedding”

  24. Landrum-Griffin Act (Bill of Rights of Union Members) • Union members have the right to: • Nominate candidates for union office • Vote in union elections or referendums • Attend union meetings • Participate in union meetings and vote on union business • Examine union accounts and records • Bring suit against union officers as necessary to protect union funds

  25. The Labor Relations Process

  26. The Union Drive and Election • Step 1. Initial Contact • The union determines employees’ interest in organizing, and sets up an organizing committee. • Labor relations consultants • Union salting • Step 2. Obtaining Authorization Cards • 30% of eligible employees in an appropriate bargaining unit must sign cards authorizing the union to petition the NLRB for an election.

  27. The Organizing Drive • Obtaining Authorization Cards • Let the union seek a representation election. • Designate the union as a bargaining representative in all employment matters. • State that the employee has applied for membership in the union and will be subject to union rules and bylaws. • Can be collected and distributed by unions through the Internet.

  28. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Authorization Card

  29. The Organizing Drive (cont’d) • Employer Responses to Organizing • Can attack the union on ethical and moral grounds and cite the cost of union membership • Cannot make promises of benefits • Cannot make unilateral changes in terms and conditions of employment that were not planned to be implemented prior to the onset of union organizing activity • Can inform employees of their right to revoke their authorization cards

  30. The Organizing Drive (cont’d) • Union Activities During Organizing • Unions can picket the firm, subject to three constraints: • It must file a petition for an election within 30 days after the start of picketing. • The firm cannot already be lawfully recognizing another union. • There cannot have been a valid NLRB election during the past 12 months.

  31. The Union Drive and Election (cont’d) • Step 3. Hold a Hearing • Consent election • Employer chooses not to contest union recognition at all. • Stipulated election • The employer chooses not to contest: • The union’s right to an election • Scope of the bargaining unit • Which employees are eligible to vote in the election • Contesting the union’s right to an election • An employer can insist on an NLRB hearing to determine if employees wish to elect a union to represent them.

  32. The Labor Relations Process

  33. NLRB Form 852: Notice of RepresentationHearing

  34. NLRB Hearing Officer’s Duties • Determining if the record indicates there is enough evidence to hold an election • Did 30% of the employees in an appropriate bargaining unit sign the authorization cards? • Deciding what the bargaining unit will be • The bargaining unit is the group of employees that the union will be authorized to represent and bargain for collectively.

  35. The Union Drive and Election (cont’d) • Step 4. The Campaign • Both sides present their platforms. • Step 5. The Election • Held within 30 to 60 days after the NLRB issues its Decision and Direction of Election. • The election is by secret ballot; the NLRB provides and counts the ballots. • The union becomes the employees’ representative by getting a majority of the votes cast in the election.

  36. Sample NLRB Ballot

  37. How to Lose a NLRB Election • Reason 1. Asleep at the Switch • Reason 2. Appointing a Committee • Reason 3. Concentrating on Money and Benefits • Reason 4. Industry Blind Spots • Reason 5. Delegating Too Much to Divisions

  38. The Union Drive and Election (cont’d) • The Supervisor’s Role • Unfair labor practices by supervisors: • Could cause the NLRB to hold a new election after the company has won a previous election. • Could cause the company to forfeit the second election and go directly to contract negotiation.

  39. Union Avoidance: What Not to Do Human resources professionals must be very careful to do the following during union activities at their firms: • Watch what you say. Angry feelings of the moment may get you in trouble. • Never threaten workers with what you will do or what will happen if a union comes in. Do not say, for example, that the business will close or move, that wages will go down or overtime will be eliminated, that there will be layoffs, etc. • Don’t tell union sympathizers that they will suffer in any way for their support. Don’t terminate or discipline workers for engaging in union activities. • Don’t interrogate workers about union sympathizers or organizers. • Don’t ask workers to remove union screensavers or campaign buttons if you allow these things for other organizations. • Don’t treat pro-union or anti-union workers any differently. • Don’t transfer workers on the basis of union affiliation or sympathies. • Don’t ask workers how they are going to vote or how others may vote. • Don’t ask employees about union meetings or any matters related to unions. You can listen, but don’t ask for details. • Don’t promise workers benefits, promotions, or anything else if they vote against the union. • Avoid becoming involved—in any way—in the details of the union’s election or campaign, and don’t participate in any petition movement against the union. • Don’t give financial aid or any support to any unions. Any one of these practices may result in a finding of “unfair labor practices,” which may in turn result in recognition of a union without an election, as well as fines for your firm.

  40. Employer Tactics Opposing Unionization • Stressing favorable employer-employee relationship experienced without a union. • Emphasize current advantages in wages, benefits, or working conditions the employees may enjoy • Emphasize unfavorable aspects of unionism: strikes, union dues, abuses of legal rights • Use statistics to show that unions commit large numbers of unfair labor practices. • Initiate legal action when union members and leaders engage in unfair labor practices

  41. Employer “Don’ts” during Union Organizing Campaigns

  42. Labor Relations in the Public Sector • Challenges to Public Sector Unionization: • No national-level public sector labor relations laws • Public employees’ wages and working conditions set by law • Collective bargaining for federal employees governed by executive orders and the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 • Various public civil service systems address public employee complaints or grievances • Substitution of compulsory binding arbitration for the guaranteed right to strike

  43. The Collective Bargaining Process

  44. The Bargaining Process • Collective Bargaining Process • The process of negotiating a labor agreement, including the use of economic pressures by both parties. • Preparing for Negotiations • Gathering Bargaining Data • Developing Bargaining Strategies and Tactics • Negotiating the Labor Agreement • Bargaining Zone • Area within which the union and the employer are willing to concede when bargaining.

  45. The Bargaining Process (cont.) • Good Faith Bargaining Requirements • Meetings to be held at reasonable times and places to discuss employment conditions. • Proposals and counterproposals submitted by each party must be realistic and reasonable. • Both parties must sign a written document of the agreement reached through negotiations • Interest-based Bargaining • Problem-solving bargaining based on a win-win philosophy and the development of a positive long-term relationship.

  46. Management and Union Power in Collective Bargaining • Bargaining Power • The power of labor and management to achieve their goals through economic, social, or political influence. • Union Bargaining Power • Strikes, pickets, and boycotts • Management Bargaining Power • Hiring permanent replacement workers • Continuing operations staffed by management • Locking out employees

  47. Bargaining Items

  48. Administration of the Labor Agreement • The bulk of labor relations activity comes from the day-to-day administration of the agreement because no agreement could possibly anticipate all the forms that disputes may take. • Once the agreement is signed, each side will naturally interpret ambiguous clauses to its own advantage. These differences are traditionally resolved through the grievance procedure.