Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

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HR - Chapter 13: Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining

Why do workers join Unions?

There are three main reasons why workers join unions:
* Dissatisfaction with the work environment (wages, benefits, supervision) * A desire to have more influence in affecting change in the work environment * Employee believe that unions can actually improve conditions and have an impact at their own workplace

Effects of Unions

Workers join Unions to improve their wages, working conditions, and job security. In general, those who are usually paid the least tend to benefit the most from unionization. Variation in union wage effects across industries partially occur due to the union’s ability to take “wages out of competition”. Union advocates mantain that the “collective voice” of unions reduces worker quit rates; in addiction, management is forced to become more efficient when faced with the necessity of providing higher wages to unionized employees. IN contrast, unions tend to have negative effects on productivity, even if positive productivity effects generally tend to be found in competitive industries with higher union wage effects.

Unions and Quality of Worklife Issues

Quality of Worklife Issues programs are as important as training, up-to-date equipment, and quality materials and resources, in order to achieve the best total quality to the market, but some employees could prefer collective bargaining process to QWL programs. Researches show that unionized firms have more gains from employee participation that do non-union firms. Firms must be cautious in their implementation of non-union work teams, because of the legal concerns regarding violations of laws.

Union Effect on Worker Satisfaction

Supervision, co-workers, and job content create more dissatisfaction for union workers than for non-union workers (only pay provides more union satisfaction). Voluntary turnover rates are substantially lower under unions.

Unions and HRM

In presence of a union, HRM decisions are more constrained (union gives employees a voice in the development of work rules). Management must clearly justify their reasons for termination when unionized.

Collective Bargaining

Collective Bargaining occurs when representatives of a labor union meet with management representatives to determine employees’ wages and benefits, to create or revise work rules, and to resolve disputes or violations of the labor contract. (Collective Bargaining is the primary process for determining wages, benefits and working conditions). Organizations and unions need to maintain knowledge of bargaining strategies and guidelines in order to successfully represent their interests. Collective bargaining should be viewed by both the union and management as a “two-way street”.

The Labor Contract

Is a formal agreement between a union and management that specifies the conditions of employment (wages, benefits, working conditions), over a mutually agrees upon period of time. Reaching this agreement is not so simple. Good-faith bargaining is characterized by the following events: * meetings for purposes of negotiating the contract are scheduled and conducted with the union at reasonable times and places * realistic proposals are submitted

* reasonable counterproposals are offered
* each party signs the agreement once it has been completed Signing the agreement doesn’t mean that a party is making a concession to the other.

Issues in Collective Bargaining

Major issues discussed in bargaining:
* Wage-related issues (how basic wage rates are determined, cost-of-living adjustments, …) * Supplementary economic benefits (pensions, holidays, shifts, canteen, …) * Institutional issues (rights and duties of employers, employees, and unions) * Administrative issues (seniority, employee discipline, health and safety, …)

Types of Bargaining

Different kinds of negotiations:
* Distributive bargaining (one side...
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