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Michael R. Carrell & Christina Heavrin. Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining Eighth Edition. PART II: The Collective Bargaining Process. CHAPTER 3 Establishing a Bargaining Unit. © 2007 Prentice Hall Inc. All rights reserved. Chapter Outline.

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Michael R. Carrell & Christina Heavrin

Labor Relations and

Collective Bargaining

Eighth Edition

PART II: The Collective Bargaining Process


Establishing a Bargaining Unit

© 2007 Prentice Hall Inc. All rights reserved

chapter outline
Chapter Outline

What Is Collective Bargaining?

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

Bargaining Unit Determination

Bargaining Unit Determination in the Public Sector

Union Structure

Representation Elections

Union Security

Individual Rights Within Unions

labor news
Labor News

2004 NLRB decision on graduate students halts rise

Overturns 2000 NLRB decision which required NY Univ. to recognize graduate teaching assistants (TAs) union

After 2000 ruling the number of union TAs doubled in four years to 40,000 on 24 campuses: Brown, Columbia, Temple, Harvard, Cornell, Tufts, and the University of Pennsylvania

TAs sought higher pay, childcare and medical benefits.

what is collective bargaining
What Is Collective Bargaining

Collective Bargaining: “A

continuous relationship

between an employer and a designated labor organization representing a specific unit of employees for the purpose of negotiating written terms of employment”

Bargaining Unit - a group of employees recognized by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to bargain collectively with its employer

CB begins with the negotiation of a contract, then continues with the daily interpretation & administration

what is collective bargaining cont
What Is Collective Bargaining? (cont.)

Price of





job rights






and union


Terms of


national labor relations board
National Labor Relations Board

Created by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

Consists of 5 persons appointed by the President of the U.S.

Must receive confirmation from Senate

Guiding principles

Encourage labor organizations and collective bargaining

Recognize majority representation

Provide prompt administrative machinery

Impose sanctions or punishments for violations of NLRA

national labor relations board cont
National Labor Relations Board (cont.)

Jurisdiction of NLRB:

Persons - “one or more persons, labor organizations, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees in bankruptcy, or receivers”

Labor dispute - “any controversy concerning terms, tenure, or conditions of employment”

Affecting commerce - NLRB has authority in all but local disputes. EX: In San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino (2004) the NLRB decided an Indian casino “affected commerce” and was under the jurisdiction of the NLRA

Employees - include all workers except agricultural, domestic servants, independent contractors, persons employed by their parents, supervisors, government employees

national labor relations board cont1
Jurisdiction of NLRB (cont.)

Employers - include all but U.S. government, Federal Reserve Bank, a state or political subdivision, entities subject to Railway Labor Act

Labor organization - most commonly unions and other entities that represent workers to their employers

National Labor Relations Board (cont.)
national labor relations board cont2
National Labor Relations Board (cont.)


Concerned with activities subject to regulation by both federal and state governments

Federal law typically enjoys exclusive jurisdiction

If an activity is covered by Section 7 of the NLRA, state law is totally preempted

Section 7 - provides for self-organization

Formation of unions, collective bargaining, concerted activities, or refraining from all of the former

Section 8 of the NLRA, clearly prohibits regulation by the states

Section 8 - contains employer and union unfair labor practices

bargaining unit determination
Bargaining Unit Determination

Section 9(b) of the NLRA

Authorizes the NLRB to decide the appropriate bargaining unit on a case by case basis

NLRB has wide discretion in these decisions

No legally binding formulas

Rational examination of the facts of individual cases

Bargaining unit

Group of employees for whom the union has exclusive representation

Appropriate unit

Employees having a substantial mutual interest in wages, hours, and working conditions

2004 Oakwood Care CenterNLRB reversed M.S. Sturgis

criteria used to determine an appropriate bargaining unit
Criteria Used to Determine an Appropriate Bargaining Unit





of interest











Prior union


Relation to






bargaining unit determination cont
Bargaining Unit Determination (cont.)

Types of units

Craft units

Composed exclusively of workers having a recognized skill

Distinct from others in the unit by virtue of the skilled, non-repetitive nature of its work

Departmental units

Composed of the members of one department in a larger organization

Separate units created after examining differences in skills, training, degree of common supervision, interchange with employees outside the department, and performance rating system

bargaining unit determination cont1
Types of units (cont.)

One employer, multiple locations

a petitioned-for single-facility unit is presumed to be an appropriate bargaining unit

if unit has a separate identity

Centralized control v. unit mgt. Autonomy a key factor

Multiemployer units

Group of related employers and representatives of their workers

Residual units

Odd collections of workers with common work situations or proximity of work sites

Bargaining Unit Determination (cont.)
bargaining unit determination cont2
Types of units (cont.)

Remaining units

Groups that are separate from primary production and maintenance units

Health-care institutions units

1974 Health-Care Amendments

NLRB approved 8 basic health care units

Courts subsequently ruled that nurses are supervisors, and therefore, exempt from the Act

Bargaining Unit Determination (cont.)
  • registered nurses
  • technical employees
  • skilled maintenance
  • all other nonprofessionals
  • physicians
  • all other professionals
  • business office clericals
  • guards
bargaining unit determination in the public sector
Bargaining Unit Determination in the Public Sector

Federal Labor Relations Authority

Established by Title VII of the Civil Service Reform Act

Appropriate unit must promote effective dealings with agency

Community of interest test used to identify bargaining unit

Similar wages, hours, working rules, and conditions

Maintaining a negotiating pattern based on history

Maintaining the craft or professional line status

Representation rights

union structure
Union Structure

Types of unions

Craft unions - “One craft, one union”

Members organized on the basis of craft or skill

Stringent apprenticeship programs

Workers retain membership even as they move

between jobs performed for different employers

Labor agreements typically apply to a region rather than an employer

Business agents

Full-time administrator

Contract administration

Hiring hall


Eyes and ears of the business agent

union structure cont
Union Structure (cont.)

Types of unions (cont.)

Industrial unions - “One shop, one union”

Organizes all workers at one workplace, regardless of job

Local unions typically affiliated with a national union

National unions may negotiate a master agreement

Local unions negotiate separate agreement covering local issues

Members often join because of union shop agreement

Administered by elected officials

Officials typically are full-time employees at the workplace

union structure cont1
Union Structure (cont.)

Levels of unions

Local unions

Organizational component of national unions

Handle day-to-day operations of collective bargaining agreement

Adopt own By-laws (Ex: Figure 3-1)

May fill a social role in lives of members

National (International) unions

Relationship with subordinate local unions determined by each union’s constitution, bylaws, and charter

Officers elected to act in concert with policies established by the convention

Provide services to the local unions

Important political and representative role on behalf of local unions

bylaws ibew local 1347
BYLAWS, IBEW Local 1347
  • Article 1 - Jurisdiction: Utility work performed by employees of Cinergy 1
  • Article 2 - Meetings: Schedule of union membership meetings 2
  • Article 3 - Election Board/Officers/Duties: The duties of Election Board members and
  • Officers and how elections are conducted 3
  • Article 4 - Executive Board: Duties and responsibilities of members 6
  • Article 5 - Business Manager: Duties and responsibilities 7
  • Article 6 - Salaries: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Treasurer,
  • Executive Board, Master Stewards, Stewards,
  • Business Manager, Assistant Business Manager 8
  • Source: Kenzie Baker, IBEW Local Union 1347, permission granted by Stephen Feldhaus, Business Manager, 2005
union structure cont2
Union Structure (cont.)

Levels of unions (cont.)

Intermediate organizational unions

Regional or district officers, trade councils, conference boards

Joint councils often bring various crafts together

Federation: AFL-CIO (1955)

Not a union itself

Composed of national and international unions

Assists in mediation and resolution of disputes between affiliated unions

Periodic conventions determine officers, policies, and business

Executive council conducts the business of the federation in the time between conventions

Change to Win (2005) , 7 unions, 6 million members elected Anna Burger 1st president, and 1st woman federation president

union structure cont3
Levels of unions (cont.)

Independent unions

Unaffiliated with a national or international union

This type of union is growing

Represents primarily government and white-collar workers

Open membership to employees of a specific professional occupation

Tend to be more democratic than other unions

Union Structure (cont.)
public sector unions
Public Sector Unions

Most have roots in professional organizations that developed prior to widespread public sector collective bargaining


National Education Association (NEA)

Formed to advance the interests of educators

Largest professional association in the world

American Federation of Teachers (AFT)

Affiliated with AFL-CIO

American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)

Second largest public union and second largest affiliate of the AFL-CIO

representation elections
NLRB regulates representation elections and organizing campaigns

Bargaining agent is selected by a majority vote of unit members

Election procedures are codified

Organizing drive

Impetus stems from dissatisfaction with the job

Union organizer - full-time, salaried staff member who generally represents a national union

Tries to convince workers about benefits stemming from unionization

Management tries to convince workers that unionization will not help them

Representation Elections
representation elections cont
Representation Elections (cont.)

Election procedures

Step 1: Representation Petition

RC petition - filed on behalf of an employee(s) or union to determine support for representation in collective bargaining (certification)

RM petition - filed by employer to determine support for representation in collective bargaining

RD petition – filed by employer, employee, or union to determine whether a recognized union still has employees support (decertification)

representation elections cont1
Representation Elections (cont.)

Election procedures (cont.)

Step 1: Representation Petition (cont.)

UD petition - filed by employees to rescind a union shop agreement

UC petition - filed to request clarification of composition of bargaining unit

AC petition - filed to recognize a change of union circumstances

Step 2: Investigation

NLRB regional director determines whether to conduct an election

Checks appropriateness of bargaining unit

Employer must provide list of eligible employees’ names, addresses to petitioning union

representation elections cont2
Election procedures (cont.)

Step 3: Secret Ballot Election

NLRB ensures that representation election is fair and honest, gives employees “free choice”

Provides precise procedures for casting, returning ballots

Election may be invalidated due to actions of the employer, employees, or third parties

E.g., 24 hour rule: prohibits captive audience speeches 24 hours prior to election

Runoff election - may be used if more than one union is seeking representation rights if none of the choices receives a majority of the votes

Representation Elections (cont.)
representation elections cont3
Representation Elections (cont.)

Election procedures (cont.)

Step 4: Certification of Election Results

NLRB satisfied that results reflect the employees’ “free choice”

Certification - variety of benefits to union

Exclusive representation rights

For 1 year, employer obligated to bargain: 2005 study found 90% of newly certified unions successfully negotiated first contract within first year. However, in previous decades union rates were as low as 60%.

For 1 year, no other union can challenge representation rights

representation elections cont4
Voluntary recognition: “card check” or strike

Employer recognizes the union without an election

Rare event because SB elections regarded as the “gold standard” of employees’ “freedom of choice”

May result from union pressure tactics

Gissel doctrine - NLRB may issue a bargaining order in response to employer’s unfair labor practices

Traditional remedies deemed inadequate to eradicate effects of employer tactics

Union authorization cards considered a more reliable indicator of employee sentiment about union representation

Representation Elections (cont.)
representation elections cont5
Decertification elections

Bargaining unit votes to terminate existing union’s representation rights

Rules similar to certification

Reasons that members decertify a union

Employer recently treated employees better

Employer waged an aggressive anti-union campaign

Employer moves to traditionally nonunion geographic area

Majority of members believe the union is unresponsive, or workers lose confidence in union

De-authorization election (UD): if a majority of the bargaining unit members decide they desire to nullify only the union shop provision in their agreement.

Decertification (RD) election: if a majorityvote against the union, it no longer represents the employees in the bargaining unit.

Representation Elections (cont.)
representation elections cont6
Representation Elections (cont.)

Exclusive representation

Both a practice and a principle of law

Gives real power to the union’s bargaining positions

Simplifies the bargaining process

Facilitates consistent administration of the labor contract

union security
Union Security

Union’s ability to grow and to perform its exclusive collective bargaining role without interference from management, other unions, or other sources

Provision in collective bargaining agreement requiring employees to join union and pay union dues as a condition of continued employment

Union security clause

Contained in most collective bargaining agreements

Employees may have the option to choose either full or limited membership

Union obligated to inform members of their rights

union security cont
Legal background


Prohibited company unions

Yellow-dog contracts and blacklisting made illegal

Taft-Hartley Amendments, Section 7

Guaranteed employees’ rights not to organize

Outlawed the closed shop

States permitted to legislate right-to-work laws

Court decisions

Limited the application of a union shop provision

CWA v. Beck - dues cannot include funds for union’s political or fraternal activities

Union Security (cont.)
union security cont1
Union Security (cont.)

Forms of union security

Open shop

Employees not required to join union or pay dues

Union shop

Within 30 to 90 days of hire, employees required to join the union as a condition of employment

Union hiring hall

Employer required to hire workers referred by the union

Union must refer both union and nonunion workers

Agency shop

Although workers not required to join the union, they must pay the union a representation fee

union security cont2
Forms of union security (cont.)

Maintenance of membership

Members must maintain membership only for contract duration

Nonunion workers not required to join

Miscellaneous forms of union security

Preferential shop - requires the employer to give hiring preference to union members

Dues “check-off” - union dues & fees deducted from employee’s paycheck

Super seniority - union leaders top seniority for layoff purposes: assures continuity in union leadership

Union Security (cont.)
union security cont3
Union Security (cont.)


Section 14(b) of the NLRA

States may enact laws prohibiting union or agency shops

Right-to-work laws exist in 21 states with:

Low union membership

Little heavy industry

High level of agriculture

Opponents of right-to-work laws believe that:

Laws strengthen the hand of management

Requiring union membership not more restrictive than other work rules

Union deserves support because both members and nonmembers benefit from representation

Per capita income is higher in states that do not have right-to-work laws

union security cont4
Union Security (cont.)

Right-to-work (cont.)

Proponents of right-to-work laws

Affirm the right to employment regardless of union membership

Compulsory union membership means that union does not have to be responsive to its members

Encourage economic development because employers are less likely to lose income due to strikes over union security issues

2004 study determined union density is significantly lower in right-to-work states

union security cont5
Right-to-work (cont.)

Court rulings and right-to-work states have created two new categories of employees

Free riders - employees who are represented by a union without joining the union

Cheap riders - employees who are represented by a union without joining the union

Required to pay a representation fee that is some fraction of regular union dues

Unions helped to defeat legislation that proposed to prohibit unions from collecting dues if any part of the funds were used to affect election outcome

Union Security (cont.)
individual rights within unions
Individual Rights Within Unions

Duty of fair representation (DFR)

Exclusive representation rights impose duty on union to fairly represent all employees of the bargaining unit

Steele v. Louisville and Nashville Railroad

Courts ruled that unions must consider all employees and make an effort to serve their interests in good faith and without hostility or arbitrary discrimination

Vaca v. Sipes - employee does not have an absolute right to have a grievance pursued

Breach of DFR occurs only if the union’s conduct toward the worker is arbitrary, discriminatory, or in bad faith

individual rights within unions cont
Duty of fair representation (DFR)

Bowen v. U.S. Postal Service - damages apportioned between the union and the employer

Date of hypothetical arbitration decision used to apportion the damages

Rights to refrain from supporting a union

Not joining a union

Resigning union membership

Paying dues only to cover costs of bargaining

Individual Rights Within Unions (cont.)