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Labor Relations

In: Business and Management

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LABOR RELATIONS
MG420

Kevin Erne

Instructor: Stephen Fant
Park University Internet Campus

A course paper presented to the School for Arts and Sciences and Distance Learning in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Baccalaureate

Labor Relations
Park University
November, 2012
1. Define the term “collective bargaining” and list and describe four issues that are mandatory components of a collective bargaining agreement. The Cornell University School of Law defines collective bargaining as the process of negotiating the conditions of employment between a group of employees and their employer (Cornell University Law School). In most cases, the employees are represented by a labor organization or union. The union bargains with the employer over such categories as compensation, personnel policies and procedures, employee rights and responsibilities, employer rights and responsibilities, union rights and responsibilities, and dispute resolution and ongoing decision making (Budd, 229-230). If all goes well and all parties involved come to an agreement the result of the negotiations ends with a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). If you were to conduct a Google search for “collective bargaining” your search results would be endless. I ran a search under news and came up with an article in the Huffington Post titled “Michigan Proposal 2: Should Voters Guarantee The Right To Collectively Bargain In the State Constitution?” The article highlighted Proposal 12-2 on the Michigan ballot that will preserve employees’ right to collectively bargain under the state constitution. This proposal will include both public and private sector employees and grant them the right to organize and conduct negotiations using labor unions. The proposal also included verbiage that; would override state laws that regulate hours and conditions of employment that detract from CBAs; further defines the word “employer” as a person/entity that employs one or more employees; and invalidates current or future state laws that inhibit employees from joining unions and bargain collectively, and to negotiate and enforce CBAs, to include financial support to labor unions. Proposal 12-2 would also recognize laws passed that prohibit public employees from striking. Supporters of this proposal say, “That guaranteeing collective bargaining will protect workers’ rights against employers in the future and also impede any right-to-work legislation that could be proposed in Michigan” (Huffington Post). In addition to employees’ rights, CBAs also contain employers’ rights and responsibilities. These include, but are not limited to, management rights, just cause discipline and discharge, subcontracting and safety standards (Budd, 230). There has been a lot of controversy lately in regards to the mandate healthcare coverage that employers must provide to their full-time employees or face steep fines. It appears that many employers are using their management rights to cut employees’ hours in order to avoid paying the increased costs of this healthcare legislation. Tyler Kingkade of the Huffington Post reported that “Youngstown State University will limit the hours of non-union part-time employees to ensure that the university is not required to provide them with health insurance coverage under Obamacare”. In accordance with the Affordable Care Act, the university is required to provide healthcare coverage to its full-time employees. Full-time employees encompass anyone who works 30 hours or more per week. To counter the costs associated with this law, the university has restricted its part-time employees to 29 hours per week or less. The article also stated that the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh will follow suit and limit their employees’ hours as well (Kingkade).
2. List and discuss three U.S. laws that support collective bargaining, and three examples of employer unfair labor practices. Three laws that come to mind from our reading are the Railway Labor Act of 1926, National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935, and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959. These laws were established to protect employees from unfair labor practices such as firing a worker who supports a union, failing to bargain in good faith and refusing to meet with a union (Budd, 123). In an effort to lessen the impact that labor-management conflicts were having on commerce, Congress passed the Railway Labor Act in 1926. This law’s main goal was to alleviate the purpose of strikes by protecting the employees’ right to form unions. The act also put in place a board to resolve grievances and provided a means to work through bargaining disputes through government mediation. In 1936 the act was amended to incorporate the airline industry (Budd, 117). Mary Schlangenstein wrote "US Airways Attendants Approve Strike After Rejecting Contract", an article for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, about the Association of Flight Attendants’ drive to align employees with US Airways and America West Holdings Corp under a single contract, which hasn’t occurred since their merger in 2005. Flight attendants with US Airways voted to strike after rejecting two contract agreements. Under conditions of the Railway Labor Act, the National Mediation Board would not authorize the union to strike in order to alleviate any disruption to the upcoming holiday season. The strike vote is, in essence, being used to gain a stronger presence at the bargaining table (Schlangenstein). The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) of 1935 was signed into legislation by President Roosevelt in an attempt to further protect employees’ right to form and join unions in the private sector. Also known as the Wagner Act, named after Senator Robert F. Wagner, it establishes exclusive representation through unions when a majority of employees request such support through a democratic process. Which was Senator Wagner’s quest when he stated, “The spirit and purpose of the law is to create a free and dignified workingman who has the economic strength to bargain collectively with a fee and dignified employer in accordance with the methods of democracy” (Budd, 121). The NLRA addresses the unfair labor practice of employer cooperation by making it a law requiring them to bargain with the union over wages, hours and other conditions of employment (Budd, 123). Even though it was mandated in 1935, the NLRA has been amended over the years and is still the foundation of today’s labor laws. The Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, also known as the Landrum-Griffin Act, was established to combat corruption within the labor movement, particularly the labor organizations. This act put in place a set of checks and balances that the unions were to adhere to in order to make them more democratic and less corrupt. This included disclosure of union financial records to prevent racketeering and fraud. There was also provisions put in place to outline union members’ rights, reporting procedures (to include establishment of a constitution and by-laws), union election procedures, safeguards and miscellaneous other provisions (Budd, 134). An editorial, “The Real Reason Unions Are Targeting Wal-Mart” by Diana Furchtgott-Roth, printed in the Washington Examiner, pointed out that the Organization United for Respect (OUR) at Wal-Mart were in violation of the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act. She reports that OUR Wal-Mart claims to represent thousands of Wal-Mart employees but has yet to file its financial information or elected officials, as required by legislation (Furchtgott-Roth). Unfair labor practices seem to be a common topic in the news. One particular article, “Labor Board Deals Blow to Fired Immigrant Striker in Wisconsin” by Josh Eidelson was published in the on-line publication In These Times mentioned a variety of accusations that a group of immigrant workers claimed their employer, Palermo’s Pizza, exhibited when they fired 75 striking employees. One allegation was that Palermo’s Pizza refused to bargain with the Palermo Workers Union (PWU), the representative labor organization of the immigrant workers established with the assistance of Voces de La Frontera. This accusation is in violation of section 8(a)(5) of the Wagner Act which states that an “employer must recognize the union as the exclusive representative of all employees and bargain with it accordingly” (Budd, 124). During the NLRB’s investigation it was noted that Palermo’s Pizza refused to recognize the union and gave notice to their workers that they had 28 days to prove their immigration status which authorized them to work in the U.S. The employees submitted a petition to the NLRB seeking an election which has been delayed by a number of things from union-busting allegations to a rival union that has appeared as an alternative to the PWU. Since the process has been skewed, the NLRB sided with Palermo’s Pizza stating that they have not violated the unfair labor practices policies because there is no union recognition at this time (Eidelson). The same article also brought up the allegation that Palermo’s Pizza violated section 8(a)(3) of the Wagner Act, which covers discrimination to encourage of discourage union membership (Budd, 123). Palermo’s Pizza was alleged to have violated the act when they fired 75 employees who were striking. These employees were associated with the not yet recognized Palermo Workers Union. The NLRB reviewed all evidence and testimony from all parties and again sided with Palermo’s Pizza that they did not violate the law because there had not been an election, and Palermo’s Pizza refused, to recognize the PWU as the employees bargaining representative (Eidelson).
3. Describe the process of establishing and decertifying a collective bargaining unit in the workplace. Establishing a collective bargaining unit in the workplace is accomplished by first determining if there is a large enough need for representation. This is done by initiating an organizing drive. Once a drive has been started, the focus shifts to gaining and documenting support from other workers. This is done through distributing union information and collecting authorization cards. Once a majority of signed cards has been collected, usually more than 50 percent, the union can ask the employer to voluntarily recognize them as the bargaining agent of their employees. If the employer accepts recognition of the union, the union is recognized and the employer is obligated to bargain with them. If an employer refuses to recognize the union, the employees could launch a recognition strike to entice their employer to acknowledge their union representation. In accordance with the Landrum-Griffin Act, discussed earlier, this recognition strike cannot last more than 30 days. Another alternative is for the employees, or the union, to petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to conduct an election. The petition must contain sufficient interest to support an election. Sufficient interest is defined as a representation of 30% of employees. The NLRB will then determine bargaining unit in which the union will represent. Once everything is in order, the NLRB will conduct a secret ballot election to determine if there is a majority vote of more than 50% in favor of unionizing. Once the election is over with more than 50% support, the union is recognized and the employer must bargain with them (Budd, 188-197). An article on Labornotes.org written by Andrew Elrod, gave a promising outlook for immigrant workers trying to unionize around New York City. The entire certification process was recently proven during a yearlong organizing drive by the employees of the Hot and Crusty restaurant in Manhattan, New York. A group of workers banded together with a newly formed labor organization called the Laundry Workers Center (LWC) and attempted to form a union to improve their working conditions. The workers won a certification election this past May and began the negotiation process. Shortly after the LWC began negotiating their contract, the employer dropped notice that they were closing the store and going out of business which was intended to kill the union and strike the fear in the employees of losing their jobs. The workers fought back with a sit-in and a picket line that would last almost two months. After two weeks of protesting the new investors contacted LWC to resume negotiations. At the same time, the LWC had to negotiate with the landlord who was hesitant to renew a lease with the business. After finally coming to an agreement with the new employers, the workers achieved their goal. They also increased their compensation packages with paid vacation, sick days, wage increases and seniority rights, as well as a hiring hall which gives the union hiring control of who is hired to work at the store (Elrod). According the National Right to Work, Legal Defense Foundation, Inc. website, the decertification election process follows the same process as the certification election process. The only difference is the members of the union are attempting to remove their current union, vote in another union or have decided to non-union all together. The process begins with determining if there is enough support to move forward. As with a certification election, once sufficient support of 30% or more has been determined, the NLRB will conduct a secret ballot election. If more than 50% of employees sign a petition, without employer involvement, that they no longer desire union representation, the employer may withdraw recognition without an election. If the motion actually goes to a secret ballot, a vote of more than 50% will move the NLRB to remove recognition of that particular union (National Right to Work). Jeff Klein recently wrote an article for the New York Times, titled N.H.L. Scratches More Games and Its All-Star Weekend, in which he points out the unsuccessful negotiations between the National Hockey League’s (NHL) players’ association and the NHL. After ten weeks of failed bargaining attempts the players’ association is considering decertifying the union in order to bring an antitrust lawsuit against the league. Without union representation, there is hope that the courts will rule that the salary cap in unlawful. Given that the decertification process is a lengthy process, there is greater potential that the 2012-2013 hockey season will not happen (Klein).

4. Describe the process of administering a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to include the role and function of an arbitrator. What are the issues, and how are they handled? The process of administering a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) requires the employer and the union representative(s) to meet and negotiate, in good faith, the conditions of employment of the employer’s workers. Items to negotiate include compensation, safety, environmental concerns and insurance benefits, to name a few. When all parties reach an agreement the terms of the negotiation are then transcribed into a legally-enforceable written document known as a collective bargaining agreement. The terms of agreement will last anywhere from one to five years with three years being the most common duration (Budd, 229). A Google search for the collective bargaining process took me to the Industrial Relations – Naukrihub.com website. They did a great job simplifying and breaking down the process. The first step begins by preparing to bargain which starts with assembling a team. The team will review the previous CBA and determine if there is a need for revision of any item. The second step is the discussion between the two parties in regards to ground rules that will guide the bargaining negotiations. This is the time to establish mutual trust between the negotiating bodies in order for the CBA process to be successful. The third step is the propose phase. This step is initiated with opening comments and proposing potential options that may be used for the bargaining process. For sake of simplicity, this phase can be summed up as the brainstorming phase. Step four is the bargaining phase. Basically, this is where the rubber meets the road and the work begins. This step is usually summed up with a draft agreement. Finally, step five is the settlement portion of the process. After the bargaining process has occurred and the parties have compromised and agreed upon a final solution to the problems or issues at hand, a collective bargaining agreement is produced (Industrial Relations). During the collecting bargaining process it is not uncommon for emotions to get out of hand. When this occurs the negotiation process comes to a halt and neither party benefits. During times like these it may be necessary to move into arbitration and hire an arbitrator. The arbitrator is a neutral third party whose job is to force an agreement between to the two parties by issuing a ruling that states the terms of settlement (Budd, 285). A quick search in the news for arbitrator or arbitration will give you a lot of headlines involving sports. A blog written by Pat Leonard, for the New York Daily News online, gave me some insight into the mediation/arbitration process and how it impacts the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA). M. Leonard makes note that the NHL and NHLPA preferred mediations over arbitration. The reason behind this is once the negotiations have come to an impasse and mediation hasn’t worked, the entire process is taken away from the parties involved and the arbitrator makes the final decision concerning the collective bargaining process for the NHL and NHLPA. Neither party wants the decision-making process taken away from them so they agreed to move to mediation in an effort to end the dispute (Leonard). Personally, I’m pretty tired of hearing about the NHL and their Players’ Association. It seems that they do this every three or four years and cause a lot of grief for the fans and the people who make their living selling concessions and sports memorabilia during the games and throughout the hockey season. I would personally like to see an arbitrator make the final call and put this to rest so some of us could enjoy an entire hockey season for a change.
Works Cited
Budd, John W. Labor Relations: Strinking a Balance. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2010. Print.
Cornell University Law School. Legal Information Institute. 2012. 21 November 2012. .
Eidelson, Josh. "Labor Board Deals Blow to Fired Immigrant Strikers in Wisconsin." Labor Board Deals Blow to Fired Immigrant Strikers in Wisconsin -. IN THESE TIMES, 28 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. .
Elrod, Andrew. "Hot and Crusty Workers Win Contract and Hiring Hall." LABOR Notes. 29 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. .
Furchtgott-Roth, Diana. "The Real Reason Unions Are Targeting Wal-Mart." Editorial. Washington Examiner. 27 Nov. 2012. Web. 28 November 2012. .
Huffington Post. "Michigan Proposal 2: Should Voters Guarantee The Right to Collectively Bargain In The State Constitution?" Huffington Post 5 November 2012. Web. 21 November 2012. .
Industrial Relations. Industrial Relations - Collective Bargaining Process. 2007. Web. 30 November 2012. .
Kingkade, Tyler. "Youngstown State University Limits Part-Time Hours To Avoid Obamacare Rule." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 29 Nov. 2012. Web. 39 Nov. 2012. .
Klein, Jeff Z. "N.H.L. Scratches More Games and Its All-Star Weekend." The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 Nov. 2012. Web. 28 November 2012. .
Leonard, Pat. "NHL and NHLPA Agree to Federal Mediation in CBA Talks, Hoping Objective Perspective Leads to Progress toward Deal." The Blueshirts Blog. New York Daily News, 26 Nov. 2012. Web. 30 Nov. 2012. .
National Right to Work. "National Right To Work / Decertification Election." 2010. National Right To Work; Legal Defense Foundtion, Inc. Web Document. 26 November 2012. .
Schlangenstein, Mary. "US Airways Attendants Approve Strike After Rejecting Contract." (2012). BloombergBusinessweek. 20 Nov. 2012. Web. 22 November 2012. .

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...Labor Relations Makeba Hester Professor Anthony Jacobs Bus405: Labor and Relations December 16, 2013 Abstract This paper will focus on the labor relations aspect of Super Retailer Walmart. Their employees have renounced Walmart and the unfair labor relations. Walmart practices and approach to insurance, wage and shift hours have all ways haunted the retail giant. Many companies condemned Walmart for being too large and not focusing on the employees but their primary goal is just to capitalize on the blood sweat and tears of their employees. I will formulate a comprehensive strategy to Walmart that can help at least one imperative area that troubles the super retailer which is health care. 1. Discuss the company’s stance toward labor and any specific labor-related issues it may be experiencing. (Ungar, 2012)After making a big deal of publicly supporting the Affordable Care Act, Walmart—the nation’s largest private sector employer—is joining the ranks of companies seeking to avoid their obligation to provide employees with health insurance as required by Obama care. Walmart been criticized for their horrible wages to the health coverage of their employees. The announcement was long overdue and the time for change is now. As Walmart, dominate the retail industry by offering a vast selection of products to consumers from shampoo, to prescriptions, a routine visit to the optometrist, eating at McDonalds to selecting office furniture. Walmart have mastered a...

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Labor Relations

...Labor Relations Abstract This report covers a synopsis of human resources, specifically labor relations. The range of duties for labor relations specialists, various aspects of the job, and a phone interview conducted with a labor relations officer assigned to the city of San Diego. Labor Relations “There are many types of human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists. In a small organization, a human resources generalist may handle all aspects of human resources work, and thus require an extensive range of knowledge. The responsibilities of human resources generalists can vary widely, depending on their employer’s needs. In a large corporation, the director of human resources may supervise several departments, each headed by an experienced manager who most likely specializes in one human resources activity, such as employment and placement, compensation and benefits, training and development, or labor relations. The director may report to a top human resources executive” (United States Department of Labor, 2009). Every organization has a human resources department who specialize in different areas including labor relations. Labor relations staff plays...

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