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Union Organizing Campaigns and Collective Bargaining

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Union Organizing Campaigns and Collective Bargaining

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  1. UnionOrganizingCampaignsandCollectiveBargaining Chapter 19

  2. Chapter Overview • Union Membership Decision • Union Organizing Campaign • Good-Faith Bargaining • Participants in Negotiations • Collective Bargaining Agreements • Specific Issues in Collective Bargaining Agreements • Impasses in Collective Bargaining • Trends in Collective Bargaining • Summary of Learning Objectives 19-3

  3. Collective Bargaining • Process that involves negotiation, drafting, administration, and interpretation of a written agreement between an employer and a union for a specific period of time • Contract that sets forth the joint understandings of the parties as to wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment • Contracts have varying time periods, most common being three years • Basic components of the process are the following: • Negotiation of relevant issues in good faith by both management and union • Incorporation of parties’ understandings into a written contract • Administration of daily working relationships according to terms and conditions of employment specified in contract • Resolution of disputes in interpretation of terms of contract through established procedures 19-4

  4. Union Membership Decision • Before collective bargaining process begins • Employees of an organization must decide whether they want to be represented by a union • Important prerequisite to understanding collective bargaining process is knowledge of what attracts employees to unions 19-5

  5. Reasons for Joining • Many factors influence an employee’s desire to join a union • One important factor is employees’ perception of ability of union to change the situation • While wages, benefits, working conditions, and job security are main issues contributing to decision to join a union, other factors include employees’ desires for • Better communication with management • Higher quality of management and supervision • Increased democracy in the workplace • Opportunity to belong to a group where they can share experiences and comradeship 19-6

  6. The Opposition View • Major reasons for not joining a union are satisfactory • Wages • Benefits • Working conditions • Job security • Negative image of labor unions include believing unions • Have too much political influence • Require members to go along with decisions made by union • Have leaders promoting their own self-interests • Abuse their power by calling strikes • Cause high prices • Misuse union dues and pension funds • Are adversaries • Dissatisfaction with wages, benefits, and working conditions can quickly change negative attitude toward unions 19-7

  7. The Opposition View • Organizations have avoided unionization by • Providing satisfactory wages, benefits, working conditions, and job security • Creating a procedure for handling employee complaints • Eliminating arbitrary and heavy-handed management and supervisory practices • Establishing a meaningful system of two-way communication between management and employees • Eliminating threats to employees’ job security • Making employees feel like they are part of organization 19-8

  8. Union Organizing Campaign • Union organizing campaigns begin when one or more employees request that the union begin an organizing campaign • National and international unions contact employees in organizations that have been targeted for organizing campaigns • Generally, unions will not attempt to organize a facility unless there is a strong body of support among employees • Typically, union begins a campaign to interest employees in joining it • Employees sign authorization cards indicating they would like to have an election to vote for or against representation by a union • National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) requested to supervise an election – If 30 percent of employees sign authorization cards • In practice, NLRB is petitioned only if over 50 percent sign authorization cards 19-9

  9. Union Organizing Campaign • Restrictions placed on where and when support for unions can be solicited • Employees in favor of union can orally solicit support from other employees in work and nonwork areas only on nonwork time • If allowed to engage in casual conversation while working, employees can discuss union matters if production is not hindered • Union literature can be distributed only on nonworking time, and management can limit the distribution of literature to nonwork areas • NLRB rarely approves exceptions to general rules for oral solicitation and distribution of union literature • Some exceptions have been granted • Department stores 19-10

  10. Union Organizing Campaign • Rights to orally solicit union support and distribute union literature on company property apply only to employees • Management can prohibit union organizers from entering company property for these purposes • One exception is that if management allows other solicitors to enter company property, they cannot exclude union organizers • Captive-audience doctrine • Management rights • Can speak against union on company time to employees and require employees to attend meeting • Prohibit from giving a speech on company time to mass employee audience in 24 hours immediately before election • 24-hour rule applies only to a speech before a large group • Union rights • Do not have right to reply on company time 19-11

  11. Determining the Bargaining Unit • If union obtains signed authorization cards from at least 30 percent of employees • Either union or employer can petition National Labor Relations Board to conduct a representation election • If union has signed authorization cards from more than 50 percent of employees • Union can make a direct request to employer to become bargaining agent of employees • Employer normally refuses, and union then petitions NLRB for an election • After a petition is filed • Representative of NLRB (examiner) verifies that authorization requirement has been fulfilled • Makes a determination as to appropriate bargaining unit 19-12

  12. Determining the Bargaining Unit • Bargaining unit (election unit) • Group of employees in a plant, firm, or industry that is recognized by employer, agreed on by parties to a case, or designated by NLRB as appropriate for purposes of collective bargaining • Consent elections • Union elections in which parties have agreed on appropriate bargaining unit • Community of interest • Concept by which NLRB makes a bargaining unit decision based on areas of employee commonality • Factors include elements such as • Similar wages, hours, and working conditions • Employees’ physical proximity to one another • Common supervision • Amount of interchange of personnel within proposed unit • Degree of integration of employer’s production process of operation 19-13

  13. Election Campaigns • Illegal unfair labor practices include • Physical interference, threats, or violent behavior by employer toward union organizers • Employer interference with employees involved in organizing drive • Discipline or discharge of employees for prounion activities • Threatening or coercing of employees by union organizers • Union can picket an employer only • If employer is not presently unionized • Petition has been filed with NLRB within the past 30 days • Representation election has not been conducted during preceding 12 months • Informational picketing • Individuals patrol at or near place of employment carrying signs to publicize fact that union is requesting an election to become bargaining agent for employees 19-14

  14. Election Campaigns • During election campaign, management usually initiates a campaign against a union • Emphasizing costs of unionization • Loss of individual freedom that can result from collective representation • Management • Can legally state opinions about possible ramifications of unionization if its statements are based on fact and are not threatening • Can explain to employees positive aspects of their current situation • Can conduct polls to verify union strength prior to an election, but in general it may not question employees individually about their preferences or otherwise threaten or intimidate them • Cannot promise to provide or withhold benefits in future in case of unionization or nonunionization 19-15

  15. Election Campaigns • During the election campaign, unions emphasize their ability to • Help employees satisfy their needs • Improve their working conditions • Ability of union to sell these concepts to employees is a critical factor in union’s success • Employees must believe union • Cares about their problems • Can help resolve them • Can assist in improving their wages, benefits, and working conditions • Unions are legally prohibited from coercing or threatening individual employees if they do not join union 19-16

  16. Election Campaigns • Actual impact of an election campaign is unclear • Campaign tactics of both management and union are monitored by NLRB • If found to be unfair, election results may be invalidated and a new election conducted • Charges of unfair labor practices against management, if serious enough, can result in NLRB ordering management to bargain with union • Gissel bargaining orders – Named after a landmark Supreme Court decision, NLRB v. Gissel Packing Company, which held that bargaining orders by NLRB are an appropriate remedy for certain types of employer misconduct • Gissel bargaining orders are rarely issued by NLRB 19-17

  17. Election, Certification, and Decertification • If management and the union agree to conduct election as a consent election • Balloting often occurs within a short period of time • If management does not agree to a consent election, a long delay may occur • Delays in balloting often increase likelihood that management will win election • Management frequently refuses to agree to a consent election • 12-month rule • Provides that no election can be held in any bargaining unit within which a valid election has been held within preceding 12-month period 19-18

  18. Election, Certification, and Decertification • Certification bar • Condition occurring when NLRB will not permit another election in bargaining unit within 12 months of a union’s certification • Recognition bar • Condition occurring when NLRB prohibits an election for up to 12 months after an employer voluntarily recognizes a union • Contract bar doctrine • Doctrine under which NLRB will not permit an election in bargaining unit covered by a contract until contract expires, up to a maximum of three years • Secret ballot – Exclusive bargaining representative • Union represents all employees (both union members and nonmembers) in bargaining unit in negotiating their wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment • Union has to receive only a majority of votes cast 19-19

  19. Election, Certification, and Decertification • Once union has been certified • Remains by law the exclusive bargaining representative for all employees until employees within unit desire otherwise • If employees want to oust union • File a petition with NLRB for a decertification election • If 30 percent of employees support petition to decertify and a valid election to oust union has not been held within preceding year, a decertification election is conducted • If a majority of voting employees vote to decertify union, it no longer legally represents them 19-20

  20. Steps Involved in a UnionOrganizing Campaign 19-21

  21. Good-Faith Bargaining • Sincere intention of both parties to negotiate differences and reach a mutually acceptable agreement • National Labor Relations Act – Stipulates legal requirement for private enterprise organizations • Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 – Stipulates legal requirement for federal agencies • Does not require parties to agree • Obligates them to make a good-faith attempt to reach an agreement • Essential requirement is that a bona fide attempt be made to reach an agreement • Not explicitly defined in either law • Boulwarism – Named after a General Electric vice president • Occurs when management makes its best offer at outset of bargaining and firmly adheres to the offer throughout bargaining sessions • NLRB has ruled this illegal 19-22

  22. Participants in Negotiations – Employer’s Role • Single-company agreement • Representatives of a single company meet with representatives of union and negotiate a contract • Possible for one company to have several unions representing different groups of employees • Possible for one company and one union to negotiate different contracts for each facility or plant location of company • Multiemployer agreements • Individual employers in these industries are small and are in a weak position relative to union • Employers then often pool together in an employer association, which negotiates a single agreement for all involved employers • May be on a local level, a regional level, or at a national level • Industrywide bargaining – Multiemployer bargaining occurring on a regional or national basis 19-23

  23. Participants in Negotiations – Employer’s Role • In large organizations such as General Motors, master agreements on wage and benefit issue are negotiated between • Corporate officials • Officials of national or international union • In addition to master agreement, local supplements are negotiated at the plant level • Deal with issues that are unique to each plant 19-24

  24. Participants in Negotiations – Union’s Role • Single-company agreements – Size of company determines nature of union participation • Smaller companies – Local union works closely with a field representative of international or national union in negotiations • Gives advice and counsel to local union • Frequently serves as principal negotiator for union • Large companies with multiple plants – Top officials of national or international union conduct negotiations • Local union officials and a field representative of national or international union negotiate local supplements to master agreement for large companies 19-25

  25. Participants in Negotiations – Union’s Role • Multiemployer agreements • Union participation is usually directed by president of national or international union • Representatives of local unions to be covered by multiemployer agreement normally serve on union’s negotiating committee • Coordinated bargaining – Form of bargaining in which several unions bargain jointly with a single employer 19-26

  26. Role of Third Parties – National Labor Relations Act • Requires both unions and management to bargain in good faith • Refusal to bargain can be overridden by an order of NLRB • If board’s order has been properly issued, U.S. Court of Appeals is required to order enforcement under threat of contempt-of-court penalties • NLRB has authority to determine whether a particular behavior is unfair • If either party believes that an unfair practice has occurred, a charge can be filed with NLRB • Either party can appeal decisions of NLRB to U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and even the U.S. Supreme Court 19-27

  27. Role of Third Parties – Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) • Given its authority by Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 • Serves as counterpart to NLRB for federal sector • Employees • Unions • Agencies • Under procedures similar to those of NLRB, FLRA • Investigates unfair labor practice charges • Conducts hearings on unfair labor practices • Issues orders to cease from any such practices 19-28

  28. Role of Third Parties – Federal Services Impasses Panel (FSIP) • If parties in federal sector reach an impasse in negotiations, either party may request Federal Services Impasses Panel (FSIP) to consider the matter • FSIP, an entity within FLRA, has authority to • Recommend solutions to resolve an impasse • Take whatever action is necessary to resolve dispute, as long as actions are not inconsistent with the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 • Parties may agree to adopt a procedure for binding arbitration of a negotiation impasse • Only if procedure is approved by the FSIP • FSIP is considered to be legal alternative to a strike in federal sector 19-29

  29. Role of Third Parties – Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) • Independent agency within federal government that provides mediators to assist in resolving contract negotiation impasses • Jurisdiction of FMCS encompasses • Employees of private enterprise organizations engaged in interstate commerce • Federal government employees • Employees in private, nonprofit hospitals and other allied medical facilities • Mediation (Conciliation) • Process whereby both parties invite a neutral third party (called a mediator) to help resolve contract impasses • Unlike an arbitrator, has no authority to impose a solution on parties 19-30

  30. Role of Third Parties – Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) • Roles of mediators include • Helping parties find common ground for continuing negotiations • Developing factual data on issues over which parties disagree • Setting up joint study committees involving members of both parties to examine more difficult issues • Separating and serving as a buffer between antagonistic parties • Carrying proposals and counterproposals between parties • Various state agencies and private individuals, such as lawyers, professors, and arbitrators, also provide mediation services 19-31

  31. Role of Third Parties – Arbitrators • Arbitration • Process whereby parties agree to settle a dispute through use of an independent third party (called an arbitrator) • Arbitration is binding on both parties • Interest arbitration or contract arbitration – Arbitration of contract terms • Rarely used in private sector but is common in public sector • Can take one of two forms: • Conventional interest arbitration • Final-offer interest arbitration 19-32

  32. Role of Third Parties – Arbitrators • Conventional interest arbitration • Form of arbitration in which arbitrator listens to arguments from both parties and makes a binding decision • Decision can be identical to position of either party or different from the positions of both parties • Final-offer interest arbitration • Form of arbitration in which arbitrator is restricted to selecting final offer of one of the parties • Interest arbitration can be either voluntary or mandatory • Lists of certified arbitrators can be obtained from • Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service • American Arbitration Association (AAA) 19-33

  33. Collective Bargaining Agreements • Contract specifies in writing mutual agreements reached by parties during negotiations • Mandatory subjects of negotiation • National Labor Relations Act obligates employers and unions to bargain in good faith on wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment • Unions attempt to expand the mandatory area by giving a broad interpretation to the phrase • Employers naturally resist this expansion • Nonmandatory, or permissive, issue • Parties are not required to bargain on them • It is an illegal labor practice for one party to insist on bargaining about a permissive issue • Many difficulties exist on establishing a group of mandatory and permissive issues for all organizations 19-34

  34. Collective Bargaining Agreements • A small group of prohibited issues that cannot be included in a collective bargaining agreement exist • They include • Closed shop – Requires employers to hire only people who are union members • Hot-cargo clause – Results when an employer agrees with a union not to handle or use the goods or services of another employer • For federal sector, Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 makes it mandatory to bargain over “conditions of employment” • Act defines conditions of employment as • Personnel policies • Personnel practices • Matters affecting working conditions 19-35

  35. Prohibited and Permitted Collective Bargaining Issues in the Federal Sector 19-36

  36. Specific Issues in Collective Bargaining Agreements • While each contract is different, most contracts include five issues: • Management rights • Union security • Wages and benefits • Individual security (seniority) rights • Dispute resolution 19-37

  37. Management Rights • Primary purpose of management rights clause • Retain for management the right to direct all business activities • Items that are normally regarded as an integral part of management rights include the rights to • Direct the workforce • Determine size of workforce (including number and class of employees to be hired or laid off) • Set working hours • Assign work • The union insists on a sentence specifying that management will not discriminate against the union 19-38

  38. Union Security • Deal with status of employee membership in union and attempt to ensure that union has continuous strength • Union shop • Provision in a contract that requires all employees in a bargaining unit to join union and retain membership as a condition of employment • “Grandfather” clause – Modified union shop requires all employees hired after effective date of agreement to acquire and retain union membership as a condition of employment • Most right-to-work laws outlaw union shop • Agency shop • Contract provision that does not require employees to join union but requires them to pay equivalent of union dues as a condition of employment 19-39

  39. Union Security • Maintenance of membership • Contract provision that does not require an employee to join union but does require employees who do join to remain members for a stipulated time period • Taft–Hartley Act has made possible • Right-to-work – Permits states to pass legislation that guarantees right to work regardless of union membership • Prohibits closed shop – Only union members can be hired • Prohibit preferential shop – Requires that union members be given preference in filling job vacancies • Checkoff • Arrangement between an employer and a union under which employer agrees to withhold union dues, initiation fees, and assessments from employees’ paychecks and submit this money to union 19-40

  40. Wages and Employee Benefits • Cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) • Contract provision that ties wage increases to rises in Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index • Most call for hourly increases in wages for each specified rise in CPI • Adjustments can be made on a quarterly, semiannual, or annual basis • Other wage issues specified in contracts include • Overtime pay and rates of pay for work on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays, and sixth or seventh consecutive day of work • Benefits normally covered in union contracts include • Holidays • Vacations • Insurance • Pensions 19-41

  41. Wages and Employee Benefits • Eligibility for holiday pay is of one or two types • Length-of-service requirement • Employee must have worked a minimum of four weeks with employer before being eligible for holiday pay • Work requirement • Employee generally must work day before and day after a holiday to receive holiday pay • Most union contracts provide vacation provisions • Usually tied directly to employee’s length of service • Most union contracts contain clauses providing • Health, accident, and life insurance benefits • Major medical insurance • Accidental death and dismemberment benefits • Dental insurance • Coverage for miscellaneous medical expenses such as prescription drugs 19-42

  42. Definitions of Typical Supplementary Pay Items 19-43

  43. Individual Security (Seniority) Rights • Seniority – An employee’s relative length of service with an employer • May be measured on basis of employee’s • Length of service in a job classification or a department • Length of service with one plant or with company as a whole • Commonly used to achieve job security – Contract provisions specify that seniority is to be used within bargaining unit for • Transfers to higher-level jobs • Layoffs • Recalls from layoffs • Choice of work shifts • Vacation periods 19-44

  44. Individual Security (Seniority) Rights • Seniority systems are designed to benefit employees with greater length of service • Women and minorities, generally most recently hired employees, can be adversely affected by a seniority system • Section 703(a) of 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin • Section 703(h) exempts bona fide seniority systems from mandate of Section 703(a) • Suggests that bona fide seniority may have a disproportionate impact on a certain class of people and still be deemed valid • Such a system may not be result of intent to discriminate against a class of individuals 19-45

  45. Dispute Resolution • “No-strike” clause • Pledges union to cooperate in preventing work stoppages • Pledges can be • Unconditional – Ban any interference with production during life of contract • Conditional – Permit strikes under certain circumstances • No-strike ban most commonly lifted after • Exhaustion of grievance procedure • Arbitration award has been violated • In return for a no-strike pledge, union normally asks company • Not to engage in lockouts during term of contract • Lockout – Refusal of employer to let employees work • Grievance procedure provision is most common method for resolving disputes arising during term of contract • Final step in dispute resolution procedure is usually arbitration 19-46

  46. Impasses in Collective Bargaining • If new agreement has not been reached at end of contract period, employees can continue working under terms of old contract until • New agreement is reached • Strike is called • Strike – Occurs when employees collectively refuse to work • Not permitted for most public employees • To strike, union must first hold a vote among its members • In picketing, individual members patrol at or near place of employment to • Publicize existence of a strike • Discourage employees from working • Discourage public from dealing with employer • Frequently, members of other unions will refuse to cross picket line of a striking union 19-47

  47. Impasses in Collective Bargaining • Purpose of a strike is to bring economic hardship to employer, forcing employer to agree to union demands • Success of a strike determined by how severely union is able to interrupt organization’s operations • Employers often attempt to continue operations by using • Supervisory and management personnel • People not in a striking bargaining unit • People within bargaining unit who refuse to go on strike • People hired to replace striking employees • Attempts to continue operations through these methods can increase difficulty of reaching an agreement • Often result in violence 19-48

  48. Impasses in Collective Bargaining • Emergency dispute provisions of Taft–Hartley Act can be used • President is authorized to appoint a special board of inquiry, which makes • Preliminary investigation of impasse prior to issuing an injunction to halt strike • Cooling-off-period – President can issue injunction prohibiting strike action for 80 days • 60 days to resolve impasse, after which NLRB is required to poll employees on whether they will accept employer’s last offer • Injunction is dissolved • President can refer impasse to Congress and recommend a course of action 19-49

  49. Trends in Collective Bargaining • Variables influencing collective bargaining process include • Technological change • Increased use of automation • Changing government regulations • Rising foreign competition • Decline in percentage of blue-collar employees • High rates of unemployment • Joint labor–management committees • Form of collective bargaining that has evolved to cope with rapidly changing variables • Meets regularly over contract period to explore issues of common concern 19-50