I. Union organizing
A. The organizing process -‑ 30% must sign authorization cards for election to be held.
1. Why workers might want union representation -‑ employees are dissatisfied with employment conditions, etc. See Exhibit 7-1.
2. Union campaign practices -‑ union supporters promote pro‑union message around the plant and sometimes in the surrounding community.
3. Management's campaign practices -‑ rarely a passive observer in election; individual contact and captive audience speeches.
B. The election unit: The scope of the unit -‑ the NLRB's criteria -‑ board looks at history of association between the employees and the community of interests to decide whether or not they should be in same bargaining unit.
II. Union organizing success rates
A. Union organizing success rates -‑ since 1974, unions have won slightly fewer than half of all the elections conducted.
B. Representation gap - many non-union workers desire representation.
C. Does the election campaign influence how workers vote? Strong evidence indicates that employer strategies before and after elections do affect election outcomes.
D. Union decertification -‑ although only a small fraction of all units, has been increasing as of late.
E. The debate over labor law reform -‑ employer penalties are often lacking and weak -- claim proponents of labor law reform argue that employer penalties are often lacking and weak.
III. Nontraditional union organizing tactics
A. Corporate campaigns -‑ union efforts to bring public, financial, or political pressures to bear on top management.
B. Justice for Janitors Campaign - organizing on a multiemployer (regional) basis.
C. The AFL‑CIO Organizing Institute -‑ diffuse some of the successful organizing strategies and train new organizers.
D. Rank and File Approach - more successful.
E. Voluntary recognition -‑ employer maintains employer election neutrality. Examples are Xerox, General Motors, Levi Strauss, NYNEX and Bell Atlantic.
IV. Bargaining structure
A. Definition of bargaining structure -‑ formal bargaining structure v. informal bargaining structure.
B. The decentralization of bargaining structure in U.S. -‑ in Europe, bargaining structure is centralized.
C. Types of bargaining units -‑ craft, industrial, multiemployer, etc.
V. Determinants of bargaining structures
A. Bargaining leverage -‑ unions can benefit from centralized bargaining structures by removing wages from competition.
1. Employers generally prefer decentralized bargaining structure so as to reduce union leverage and respond to local conditions and issues.
2. In some cases, however, employers prefer centralized bargaining structure to prevent union whipsawing and eliminate cost competition.
B. Public policies -‑ some argue that NLRB prefers larger bargaining units.
C. Organizational factors -‑ increased size of firms and increased centralization of business decisions also leads to more centralized bargaining structures.
D. Diversity within union or management is a reason for decentralization.
E. Resolve different issues at different bargaining levels.
VI. Pattern bargaining -‑ informal pressures extend a settlement to other contracts
A. Patterns within a firm -‑ employees watch what other employees get and use it as a standard of measure.
B. Pattern bargaining in other countries -‑ for example, Japan has a spring wage offensive.
C. Intraindustry pattern bargaining -‑ most common form of pattern bargaining in the U.S.
D. The trend toward greater decentralization -‑ examples include the airline industry
, trucking industry, etc.
Chapter 7 -- Discussion Questions and Answers
1) Briefly describe the organizing process.
Employees seek out the union or the union seeks some employees to explain their rights and determine their interest in unionizing.
Union builds support and solicits signatures on authorization cards.
Union asks for recognition after a sufficient number of cards have been signed: This can either be done voluntarily or through a petition for a board-regulated election.
Boards hold an investigation to see whether an election should take place and to determine the appropriate bargaining unit.
If the board deems that the proper requirements have been met, they will order an election.
Campaigning intensifies with restrictions placed upon both sides in an attempt to maintain laboratory conditions.
Board's representatives conduct a secret ballot election and a run-off election if necessary.
If the union wins, and there are no objections or appeals, the board certifies it as the exclusive bargaining representative for that bargaining unit. There is now a duty to bargain. If the employer wins there will be no new election for 12 months.
2) What are some common strategies used by management to keep unions out of the company?
Better wages and benefits than at other companies in the local labor market
High investments in worker training and career development
Avoidance of layoffs and increased employment stability
Communication and complaint procedures
Increased participation of workers in work-related decisions
Fostering organizational loyalty
Recognition of merit systems with seniority
Location of new facilities in areas of little union involvement
Use of selection or other devices in order to weed out union sympathizers
3) Define what is meant by bargaining structures and discuss some of the determining factors of bargaining structures.
The formal bargaining structure is defined by the employers and employees that are legally bound by the collective bargaining agreement. The informal bargaining structure is defined by those affected by the agreement through pattern bargaining or other nonbinding processes
Determinants of Bargaining Structure:
Bargaining leverage: attempt by unions to take wages out of competition
Public policy: Board's structuring of election unit (some argue the board has aided centralization through a preference for large units)
Organizational factors: Either a centralized or decentralized structure of management or the union will affect bargaining structures (telephone and trucking industries)
4) What is pattern bargaining and how does it affect informal bargaining structures?
Pattern bargaining is an informal way to spread the terms and conditions of one negotiated agreement to another, non-connected agreement
Effects on informal bargaining structures:
Patterns within a firm: workers within a firm compare their wages and benefits with those outside their job and bargaining unit; pattern bargaining helps alleviate some of the tensions this comparison may bring about.
Intraindustry pattern bargaining: Stabilizes wage competition; there are some drawbacks -- reduction of employment for pattern-following employees, encouragement of new competition, reduction of a union's ability to take wages out of competition; some functions it serves -- reduces the number of strikes, takes wages out of competition where pattern is supported by a union's ability to maintain union organizing.
5) Why has collective bargaining in a number of firms and industries in the United States become more decentralized in recent years?
As management’s bargaining power increased, they pushed for more decentralized bargaining both to get lower labor costs (in part through the avoidance of pattern bargaining) and to gain contracts that were more responsive to local conditions. Efforts to gain more workplace flexibility and various work restructuring projects put a premium on local negotiations. Unions generally would have preferred more centralized agreements but unions (particularly local unions) in some cases found benefits in more localized agreements in the form of improvements in working life or plant-level employment security protections.
6) Explain what is meant by a “representation gap.”
According to Freeman and Rogers, if you combine the 32% of non-union employees who desire union representation with the 90% of current union members who desire to remain unionized
, calculations show that 44% of the private sector must therefore desire union representation. However, only 15% of the private sector is actually unionized. This gap between the 15% level of current unionization and the 44% level of desired unionization is known as the representation gap. The idea is used in order to demonstrate that more efforts need to be put fourth by union organizers to reach all of the people who desire to be unionized. The figures show that there is still a need for unions and that much growth can occur with proper organizing campaigns.
I. The four sub-processes of negotiations
A. Distributive bargaining -‑ win‑lose bargaining or zero-sum
bargaining. One side's gain is the other side's loss. Example is wages.
B. Integrative bargaining -‑ joint gain or win‑win bargaining. Both
labor and management gain when they resolve problems. Example is new technology. Workers get higher wages as a result of increased productivity and employers get higher profits.
1. Why integrative bargaining can be so difficult-- because
integrative bargaining also requires distributive bargaining. For example, how to divide the benefits from new technology?
2. Integrative and distributive bargaining require different tactics -‑ one side may be using distributive tactics while the other side is using integrative tactics.
C. Intra-organizational bargaining -‑ occurs when there are different goals within the organization. Example is that older workers may value fringe benefits highly while younger workers value wages more highly.
D. Attitudinal structuring -‑ union leaders and managers work together to build trust, share information, develop employee participation and consult on critical issues.
II. Management's wage objectives in negotiations
A. Use of labor market comparisons.
B. The firm's ability to pay.
C. Internal comparisons -‑ employees watch other employees' negotiations and may be very concerned with relative pay.
D. The union's targets -‑ management must also take into account the union's preferences when setting targets for bargaining.
III. The dynamics of management's decision‑making process
A. Intense intra-organizational bargaining occurs also within management.
B. Corporate staff engages in long-run planning, will consult research staff and local management staff.
C. Decision making is a joint process in interest bargaining.
IV. Union and worker involvement in negotiations
A. The role of the union negotiating committee -‑ meet with management and also try to learn what the members want.
B. Acquisition of strike authorization if at impasse -‑ union typically polls its members if they want to strike.
C. Contract ratification procedures -‑ varies depending on union constitution.
D. Union leader's roles in shaping strategies -‑ leaders need effective internal communication skills.
E. Unions use surveys, focus groups and interviews to gather information on members’ concerns and preferences for negotiation.
V. The cycle of negotiations
A. The early stages -‑ opening proposals by both sides. Includes laundry list of demands.
B. The middle stages -‑ involves serious consideration of various proposals; each side tries to size up the other's willingness to take a strike.
C. The final stages -‑ with strike deadline approaching, both sides discuss issues both formally and informally.
VI. Interest based bargaining
A. Parties encouraged to work together
1. Focus on their underlying interests.
2. Generate options for satisfying interests.
3. Work together to gather data and share information.
4. Evaluate options.
5. Choose option that maximizes their mutual interests.
B. Parties use integrative strategies and address the full range of concerns each party brings to the strike.
C. Need a high level of trust among negotiators and between the negotiators and their principals and constituents.
D. Certain structural and political features make interest bargaining difficult.
A. How the strike threat influences negotiated settlements
1. The Hicks model of strikes -‑ strikes occur as a result of miscalculation by one or both sides. If both sides have common expectations, a contract zone exists; includes potential settlements both sides prefer to a strike.
2. Uncertainty, change, or lack of experience can lead to miscalculation.
3. Behavioral sources of strikes -‑ social isolation leads to strikes.
4. Militancy as a source of strikes.
VIII. Strike activity
A. International comparisons of strike activity -‑ strikes in U.S. tend to be longer and involve more workers than many other countries.
B. Strike occurrences and strategies in the U.S. -‑ strikes occur infrequently post 1980.
C. Workplace slowdown as an alternative to the strike.
IX. Policy Concerns
A. Congress and President wanted to prevent longer strikes by outlawing the use of replacement workers. Supreme Court said that outlawing such action would be unconstitutional.
B. Policy makers want to improve the success rate of first contract negotiations currently only 1/3 of the negotiations for first contracts ever reach an agreement.
X. Strategy in Negotiations
A. Managers can influence its own bargaining power
1. Investment and product decisions.
2. Strategic initiations, such as new communications tactics.
3. Video taped messages to all employees such as in G.E. in 1997.
B. Union Strategies
1. Intensive strategic analysis
2. Comprehensive union-management partnerships for employee participation.
3. Long-term approach.
4. UAW’s strategic and highly visible strike usage in the 1990s.
Chapter 8 -- Discussion Questions and Answers
1) Describe the four sub-processes of negotiations developed by Walton and McKersie.
Distributive bargaining: "win/lose" bargaining; resolution of these issues involves bargaining power; core of negotiations but not the only dimension
Integrative Bargaining: "win/win" bargaining; unproductive methods of work, job classifications, seniority rules, or the introduction of new technology can be addressed through this bargaining sub process; it is difficult because
a) there are problems of how to divide the joint gain, b) both parties may send confused signals, and c) the issues are not always obvious
Intra-organizational Bargaining: when goals differ within either labor or management can result from different preferences (e.g., old workers prefer pension increases while young workers want upfront wage gains) or due to different views regarding what is possible
Attitudinal structuring: degree of trust and respect the different sides of the negotiations feel for one another; trust may be built through informal meetings; personality traits also contribute to attitudinal structuring
2) What are the key aspects of the three stages in a typical negotiations cycle?
Initial stage: presentation of a large number of opening proposals with emotional and strong arguments
Middle stage: estimate relative priorities each party gives to outstanding issues; estimate the likelihood of reaching an agreement without a strike; signal which issues might be open for compromise
Final stage: begins when contract or strike deadline approaches; many off the record discussions; each party tries to convince the other that its strike threat is credible and tries to change the other side's bottom line; may reach agreement if they can sell it to their constituencies
3) Describe the Hicks model of strikes.
During negotiations management should be willing to settle on wages that would be as high as the expected outcome plus management's potential costs during a strike; labor should be willing to settle on wages as low as the expected outcome minus their costs during a strike. The difference between the two is called a contract zone. A contract zone is not always present; no zone appears when the two parties have very different opinions on the strike outcome. Strikes occur only when one side or the other makes a miscalculation.
4) Give some examples of how management strategy influenced the course of negotiations or strikes in the 1980s and 1990s.
Strikes were used as a last resort by labor; they were more violent and hostile and emotional than in the past; unions did not often win strikes; employers used bankruptcy to protect themselves or disinvested out of the union sector; unions used strike alternatives.
5) How do traditional and interest based bargaining differ?
The traditional negotiation session consists of three stages. In the early stages the union will present a laundry list of issues which it would like to address. Most of the preparation for bargaining in the traditional setting deals consists of talking with your own party members. People from different interest groups and from different levels of the union hierarchy become involved by demanding or suggesting certain issues to be addressed or situations to be changed. As we know, most of the issues will be address at the negotiation table in a confrontational format. The union must prepare by understanding where their bargaining leverage lies on each issue so they know exactly what to expect, what to ask for, and what to settle for. This understanding comes form extensive research and information gathering that is analyzed strongly to find weaknesses in the opposition’s position.
Interest bargaining differs significantly. One of the major criticisms of the traditional approach is that it falls short of the problem solving potential. In order to overcome this pitfall
, interest bargaining, or “mutual gains” bargaining has become popular. In order to increase the capacity for problem solving, interest bargaining parties focus on their underlying interests. They try to avoid confrontations. They work together to gather the data and, unlike in traditional bargaining, they share information as to generate options for satisfying the interests of both sides. The goal is to choose options that serve the interests of both parties, not to manipulate bargaining leverage in order to gain only for one’s own party.
6) When does interest-based bargaining work best? Under what conditions
would you advise against its use?
The main goal when using interest bargaining is to increase the potential for problem solving. This can occur because both parties frame the problems, research problems, suggest solutions, and brainstorm all issues jointly. Parties work closely together towards mutual goals which allows them to overcome the adversarial tendencies which often occur in labor negotiations.
While this interest bargaining seems perfect, it can not always be the best method for two parties to use. Experience has shown that some issues are harder to resolve through pure interest based bargaining because certain issues involve clear trade-offs which result in resorting to traditional tactics of adversarial bargaining. Additionally, the level of trust needed among negotiations and between negotiators and principles and constituent is often difficult to find when intra-organizational conflicts occur between interested parties.
7) Briefly describe some of the union strategies used in the steel, airline and auto industries from the 1990s to the present.
In the steel industry, the United Steel Workers union’s new strategy aimed at bargaining with each company for comprehensive union-management partnership plans that include employee participation programs, profit and gains sharing, and union representation on the board of directors. Additionally, the USW established a Worker Ownership Institute to train, educate, and research methods to build support for unions in order to promote a long-term strategy for transforming the nature of industrial relations.
In the airline industries
, some strategies included an employee buyout to give employees the majority control on the board of directors, strike threats during major holiday travel times, and the use of the internet and modern video conferencing to mobilize the membership around issues being faced in negotiations.
Lastly, in the auto industry international competition and new production methods became critical influences on employment practices and bargaining power. Unions sought to lessen imports through import restraints, but these were largely ineffectual and weak. At the plant level some local unions agreed to participatory restructuring often involving use of team system of work while some other local unions resisted these changes on grounds that they led to speed-ups. Nationally the UAW generally agreed to incremental changes that accommodated market and managerial pressures with occasional militant opposition suffering in response to employment declines or managerial threats.
8) What happened to the frequency of strikes in the United States from the early 1980s on and what explains this trend?
The occurrence of strikes dropped dramatically in the early 1980s and continued to decline even further in the 1990s and later. Unions appeared to be reluctant to engage in strikes given the fear that this would lead to the hiring of replacement workers. The trend lent credence to a bargaining power theory of strike occurrence as strike rates declined alongside declines in union bargaining power.
I. Varies types of impasse resolution
A. Definition of impasse resolution procedures.
B. Mediation, fact-finding, and interest arbitration.
A. Most widely used and informal.
B. Voluntary and not required by law.
C. Role of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service-- union must notify FMCS 30 days in advance of contract renegotiation.
D. Mediation under the Railway Labor Act.
E. Mediation in the public sector -‑ more commonly used in public sector than in private sector.
F. Kinds of impasses that can be settled by mediation -‑ most successful with conflicts that arise from poor communication.
1. Jobs of mediators -‑ ultimate objective is to help parties reach settlement.
2. Traits of successful mediators -‑ mediator must be acceptable to both parties. Almost need boy scout characteristics -‑ friendly, trustworthy, etc.
G. Dynamics of mediation
1.Initial stage: Gaining acceptance. Mediator needs to identify the issues in dispute, the attitudinal climate, and the distribution of power within each negotiating team.
2.Middle stage: Probing for potential compromises -‑ mediator must have some knowledge of the bottom line positions of the groups.
3.Final stage: Push to compromise -‑ mediator needs to be aggressive and recognize that his or her task is to give recommendations to the parties.
H. Parties' views of mediation -‑ parties generally hold a skeptical outlook toward mediators.
A. Definition of factfinding.
1.Third party studies the issues in dispute and then makes a recommendation that can be made public.
2.Performance of factfinding -‑ record is mixed. Usually, factfinding does not generate pressure to force settlement. Works better with inexperienced negotiators.
IV. Interest arbitration
A. Definition of interest arbitration -- third party has power to set contract terms.
B. Greatest use of interest arbitration is in the public sector -- states use interest arbitration instead of giving unions the right to strike.
C. Different types of interest arbitration -- voluntary arbitration, compulsory arbitration, conventional arbitration, final offer arbitration.
D. Performance of interest arbitration.
1. Good record of preventing strikes in the public sector.
2. Settlements are usually not very different from the settlements reached in bargaining where arbitration is not available.
E. Voluntary interest arbitration is used only occasionally in the private sector.
F. Definition of combined mediation‑arbitration process --where the neutral seeks first a mediated settlement and if need be will act as an arbitrator.
G. Judicial approach to arbitration -- legalistic focus on the facts of the case.
H. Influence of arbitration structure -- different structures can be used such as judicial v. combined mediation‑arbitration.
V. Key organizations involved in impasse resolutions -- American Arbitration Association, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, National Academy of Arbitrators, National Mediation Board, and state mediation and conciliation agencies.
Chapter 9 -- Discussion Questions and Answers
1) Describe the objectives of mediation
Mediation occurs when a neutral party attempts to assist a union and management in reaching a voluntary agreement. There are several objectives to mediation: narrowing the differences between the parties involved over open issues; informally exploring what would happen if the parties were to move from their bottom-line positions. Mediation is most successful in addressing problems created by poor communication or misinformation; it is least successful in resolving economic context problems; it is not suited to resolve impasses which involve intraorganizational conflicts
2) What are the three stages that typically occur in a mediation?
Initial stage: there is concern with the mediator's being able to achieve acceptability and identifying the issues in the dispute, the underlying obstacles to a settlement, the attitudinal climate between, and the distribution of power within each negotiating team.
Middle stage: begins an exchange of proposals and testing for potential compromises; continues to try to identify priorities, bottom-line positions, and possible acceptable solutions to outstanding issues; the timing of proposals is crucial.
Final stage: someone must convince the hard-liners on each side that the best deal possible is on the table (trust in the mediator is essential at this point), proposition of "mediator proposals" -- formal suggestions by the mediator.
3) Discuss some of the criticisms made of interest arbitration?
There is some fear that the availability of this procedure may reduce the desire of both parties to bargain collectively, thus chilling the negotiations process by inducing both parties to avoid compromises or hold back concessions they actually would be willing to make. Arbitration may serve a political use for unions or management by allowing them to blame the arbitrator for the terms of the agreement. There is also some concern over the neutrality of the arbitrator and that this procedure is inherently conservative, thus stifling innovation.
4) Contrast mediation-arbitration and judicial arbitration.
Mediation-arbitration process: A neutral arbitrator seeks to shape an acceptable contract for both parties; places a premium on using arbitration as a continued negotiation or mediation; generally produces results which are acceptable to both parties; parties maintain maximum control over the arbiter's discretion and they participate in the decision-making process, which increases the amount and accuracy of the information at the arbitrator's disposal.
Judicial decision-making process: Arbitrator should focus only on the facts before her and issue a "rational" award which holds to predetermined standards.
Decision-making structure under mediation-arbitration: The parties select the arbitrator; generally use a tripartite panel structure; use private arbitrators on a case-by-case basis and flexible decision-making standards; judicial review scrutinizes only the procedural aspects of the process and not the substantive merits of the case.
Decision-making structure under the judicial decision-making process: Single arbitrator whose tenure for future arbitration cases is decided by someone other than the parties involved; arbitrator is required to apply predetermined standards
; decisions may be reviewed by a court to examine the substantive standards where appropriately applied to the given case.