Laws encouraging the union movement

Laws encouraging the union movement

Laws encouraging the union movement
Laws encouraging the union movement

PRINTED BY: [email protected]. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher’s prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. encouragement of unions. Historically, the laws encouraging the union movement included the Norris-LaGuardia and National Labor Relations (Wagner) Acts of the 1930s. These outlawed certain unfair employer labor practices and made it easier for unions to organize. The Taft-Hartley or Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 addressed keeping unions from restraining or coercing employees, and listed certain unfair union labor practices. In the 1950s, the Landrum-Griffin Act (technically, the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act) further protected union members from possible wrongdoing on the part of their unions.

When unions begin organizing, all managers and supervisors usually get involved, so it’s essential to understand the mechanics of the union drive and election. The main steps include initial contact, obtaining authorization cards, holding a hearing, the campaign itself, and the election. Supervisors need to understand their role at each step in this process. Follow the acronym TIPS—do not Threaten, Interrogate, make Promises, or Spy. And follow FORE—provide Facts, express your Opinions, explain factually correct Rules, and share your Experiences. Managers need to understand rules regarding literature and solicitation. For example, employers can always bar nonemployees from soliciting employees during their work time, and can usually stop employees from soliciting other employees when both are on duty time and not on a break.

The employer and union hammer out an agreement via the collective bargaining process. The heart of collective bargaining is good faith bargaining, which means both parties must make reasonable efforts to arrive at agreement, and proposals are matched with counterproposals. Both negotiating teams will work hard to understand their respective clients’ needs and to quantify their demands. In the actual bargaining sessions, there are mandatory bargaining items such as pay, illegal bargaining items, and voluntary bargaining items such as benefits for retirees. If things don’t go smoothly during collective bargaining, the parties may utilize third-party intermediaries, including mediators, fact finders, and arbitrators. Strikes represent a withdrawal of labor. There are economic strikes resulting from a failure to agree on the terms of the contract, as well as unfair labor practice strikes, wildcat strikes, and sympathy strikes. During strikes, picketing may occur. Other tactics include a corporate campaign by the union, boycotting, inside games, or (for employers) lockouts.…

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Most managers become involved with disputes and grievances during their careers. Most collective bargaining agreements contain a specific grievance procedure listing the steps in the procedure. In general, the best way to handle a grievance is to create an environment in which grievances don’t occur. However, if a grievance does occur, things to do include investigate, handle each case as though it may eventually result in arbitration, talk with the employee about the grievance, and comply with the contractual time limits for handling the grievance. On the other hand, don’t make arrangements with individual employees that are inconsistent with the labor agreement or hold back the remedy if the company is wrong.

Membership is down but in some ways unions are becoming more influential today, so it’s important to understand the union movement today and tomorrow. For example, unions are becoming more aggressive in terms of pushing Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which, among other things, would enable employees to vote for the union by signing authorization cards, rather than going through a formal union election. New union federations, such as Change to Win, are being more aggressive about organizing workers, and unions are going global, for instance, by helping employees in China organize local Walmart stores.

15-4. Why do employees join unions? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a union member?

15-5. Discuss four sure ways to lose an NLRB election. 15-6. Briefly illustrate how labor law has gone through a cycle of repression and encouragement. 15-7. Explain in detail each step in a union drive and election. 15-8. Define impasse, mediation, and strike, and explain the techniques that are used to overcome an impasse.…

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15-9. You are the manager of a small manufacturing plant. The union contract covering most of your employees is about to expire. Working individually or in groups, discuss how to prepare for union contract negotiations. 15-10. Working individually or in groups, use Internet resources to find situations where company management and the union reached an impasse at some point during their negotiation process, but eventually resolved the impasse. Describe the issues on both sides that led to the impasse. How did they move past the impasse? What were the final outcomes?

15-11. Appendix A , PHR and SPHR Knowledge Base, at the end of this book (pages 580–588) lists the knowledge someone studying for the HRCI certification exam needs to have in each area of human resource management (such as in Strategic Management, Workforce Planning, and Human Resource Development). In groups of four to five students, do four things: (1) review Appendix A ; (2) identify the material in this chapter that relates to the required knowledge Appendix A lists; (3) write four multiple-choice exam questions on this material that you believe would be suitable for inclusion in the HRCI exam; and (4) if time permits, have someone from your team post your team’s questions in front of the class, so that students in all teams can answer the exam questions created by the other teams. 15-12. Several years ago, 8,000 Amtrak workers agreed not to disrupt service by walking out, at least not until a court hearing was held. Amtrak had asked the courts for a temporary restraining…

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order, and the Transport Workers Union of America was actually pleased to postpone its walkout. The workers were apparently not upset at Amtrak, but at Congress for failing to provide enough funding for Amtrak. What, if anything, can an employer do when employees threaten to go on strike, not because of what the employer did, but what a third party—in this case, Congress—has done or not done? What laws would prevent the union from going on strike in this case?…

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The purpose of this exercise is to give you practice in dealing with some of

the elements of a union-organizing campaign.113…

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You should be familiar with the material covered in this chapter, as well as the following incident, “An Organizing Question on Campus.”…

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Art Tipton is human resource director of Pierce University, a private university located in a large urban city. Ruth Zimmer, a supervisor in the maintenance and housekeeping services division of the university, has just come into Art’s office to discuss her situation. Zimmer’s division is responsible for maintaining and cleaning physical facilities of the university. Zimmer is one of the department supervisors who supervise employees who maintain and clean on-campus dormitories.

In the next several minutes, Zimmer proceeds to express her concerns about a union-organizing campaign that has begun among her employees. According to Zimmer, a representative of the Service Workers Union has met with several of her employees, urging them to sign union authorization cards. She has observed several of her employees “cornering” other employees to talk to them about joining the union and to urge them to sign union authorization (or representation) cards. Zimmer even observed this during working hours as employees were going about their normal duties in the dormitories. Zimmer reports that a number of her employees have come to her asking for her opinions about the union. They told her that several other supervisors in the department had told their employees not to sign any union authorization cards and not to talk about the union at any time while they were on campus. Zimmer also reports that one of her fellow supervisors told his employees that anyone who was caught talking about the union or signing a union authorization card would be disciplined and perhaps dismissed.

Zimmer says that her employees are very dissatisfied with their wages and with the conditions that they have endured from students, supervisors, and other staff people. She says that several employees told her that they had signed union cards because they believed that the only way university administration would pay attention to their concerns was if the employees had a union to represent them. Zimmer says that she made a list of employees who she felt had joined or were interested in the union, and she could share these with Tipton if he wanted to deal with them personally. Zimmer closed her presentation with the comment that she and other department supervisors need to know what they should do…

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in order to stomp out the threat of unionization in their department.

Divide the class into groups of four or five students. Assume that you are labor relations consultants the university retained to identify the problems and issues involved and to advise Art Tipton on the university’s rights and what to do next. Each group will spend the time allotted discussing the issues. Then, outline those issues, as well as an action plan for Tipton. What should he do next?

If time permits, a spokesperson from each group should list on the board the issues involved and the group’s recommendations. What should Art do?…

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The former human resources head for UPS describes what it’s like (for both an employer and an employee) to work with a labor union. The roles and functions of labor unions are discussed, and the advantages and disadvantages that can accrue to both employees and management are explained. The future of unions, and other arrangements that fulfill some of the same roles, are also discussed.

15-13. From what you know about UPS, what do you think would make the union believe that the company was ripe for being organized? 15-14. Do you agree that unions “stifle creativity”? Why or why not? 15-15. Do you agree that employees who excel in nonunion environments earn more than they would in unionized companies? Why? 15-16. What other “replacements” for unions have helped reduce union membership, according to the chapter?…

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The talks between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (producers) began tense, and then

got tenser.114

The biggest issue was how to split revenue from new media, such as when television shows move to the Internet. The producers said they wanted a profit-splitting system rather than the current residual system. Under the residual system, writers continue to receive “residuals” or income from shows they write every time they’re shown (such as when Seinfeld appears in reruns). Writers Guild executives argued producers’ revenues from advertising and subscription fees had recently jumped by

about 40%.115

The situation grew tenser.116 Even after meeting six times, it seemed that “the parties’ only apparent area of agreement is that no real bargaining

has yet to occur.”117

Soon, the Writers Guild asked its members for strike authorization, and the producers were claiming that the guild was just trying to delay negotiations until the current contract expired (at the end of October). As the president of the producers’ group said, “We have had six across- the-table sessions and there was only silence and stonewalling from the WGA leadership. . . . The WGA leadership apparently has no intention to

bargain in good faith.”118 As evidence, the producers claimed that the WGA negotiating committee left one meeting after less than an hour.

Both sides knew timing was very important. During the fall and spring, television series production is in full swing. So, a writers’ strike now would have a bigger impact than waiting until, say, the summer to strike. Perhaps

not surprisingly, some movement was soon discernible.119 Then the WGA and producers reached agreement. The new contract was “the direct result of renewed negotiations between the two sides, which culminated Friday with a marathon session including top WGA officials and the heads…

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of the Walt Disney Co. and News Corp.”120

15-17. The producers said the WGA was not bargaining in good faith. What did they mean by that, and do you think the evidence is sufficient to support the claim? 15-18. The WGA did eventually strike. What tactics could the producers have used to fight back once the strike began? What tactics do you think the WGA used? 15-19. This was a conflict between professional and creative people (the WGA) and TV and movie producers. Do you think the conflict was therefore different in any way than are the conflicts between, say, the Autoworkers or Teamsters unions against auto and trucking companies? Why? 15-20. What role (with examples) did negotiating skills seem to play in the WGA producers’ negotiations?…

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On visiting one of Carter Cleaning Company’s stores, Jennifer was surprised to be taken aside by a long-term Carter employee, who met her as she was parking her car. “Murray (the store manager) told me I was suspended for 2 days without pay because I came in late last Thursday,” said George. “I’m really upset, but around here the store manager’s word seems to be law, and it sometimes seems like the only way anyone can file a grievance is by meeting you or your father like this in the parking lot.” Jennifer was very disturbed by this revelation and promised the employee she would look into it and discuss the situation with her father. In the car heading back to headquarters, she began mulling over what Carter Cleaning Company’s alternatives might be.

15-21. Do you think it is important for Carter Cleaning Company to have a formal grievance process? Why or why not? 15-22. Based on what you know about the Carter Cleaning Company, outline the steps in what you think would be the ideal grievance process for this company. 15-23. In addition to the grievance process, can you think of anything else that Carter Cleaning Company might do to make sure grievances and gripes like this one are expressed and are heard by top management?…

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*The accompanying strategy map for this chapter is in the MyManagementLab; and the overall map on the inside back cover of this text outlines the relationships involved.

§Written by and copyright Gary Dessler, PhD.

Lisa Cruz’s parents were both union members, and she had no strong philosophical objections to unions, per se. However, as the head of HR for the Hotel Paris, she did feel very strongly that her employer should do everything legally possible to remain union-free. She knew that this is what the hotel chain’s owners and top executives wanted, and that achieving their strategic goals would be best accomplished by staying union free. Furthermore, the evidence seemed to support their position. At least one study that she’d seen concluded that firms with 30% or more of their eligible workers in unions were in the bottom 10% in terms of performance, while those with 8% to 9% of eligible workers in unions

scored in the top 10%.121 The problem was that the Hotel Paris really had no specific policies and procedures in place to help its managers and supervisors deal with union activities. With all the laws regarding…

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