6-2 Final Project Milestone Two Short Paper – Collective Bargaining—Employee Wages And Benefits
What is the role of management and unions in society today? How has this changed in the last 100 years?
In 1935, American employees gained the right to join or create unions due to the enactment of the National Labor Relations Act. The unions were allowed to exist as a platform for employees to bargain for better remuneration and working conditions with employers. Despite increased membership since the legalization of unions, there has been a sharp decline during the last few decades. Different analysts provide varied reasons for the decline, including political and social aspects and competition from countries that offer low wages (SHRM, 2005). Regardless of the reasons for the decline in union membership, the ability to collectively bargain is the main motivation for workers to join unions. Some of the elements that unions address include healthcare access, wage increments, enhancement of safety at the workplace, reasonable working hours, and dispute resolution mechanisms. The union leaders engage the management in negotiations, which leads to the creation of a collective bargaining agreement. This document spells out specific elements that managers should observe (Bivens, Engdahl, & Gould, 2017).
During the last 100 years, union’s roles have evolved to suit the needs of the workforce. For instance, today unions are instrumental in reducing the wage gap among men and women in the workplace. In addition, they also address issues related to the remuneration of black workers to match the Hispanics. Low-wage employees have also benefitted from unions as the minimum wages have increased in the different sectors. Professions that were considered unsafe or too risky initially have experienced positive changes. These include construction and mining. The rate of violations in the nursing profession has also reduced significantly over the last decade. Firefighters have also experienced greater relief from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while workers exposed to silica dust are now protected through observation of OSHA guidelines (Bivens, Engdahl, & Gould, 2017). Therefore, unions’ roles have become more visible in recent decades benefitting members and non-members, as issues that affect diverse populations are addressed.
How does the history of unions and the collective bargaining process impact negotiations today? What are some of the current trends or problems in labor relation practices?
Since their formation, unions have been effective in improving the work environment and wage terms for employees. Collective bargaining agreements have offered workers hope for a better workplace because they are heard. In fact, at least 48 percent of workers would still want to join or create a union at their workplace (Bivens, Engdahl, & Gould, 2017). However, the power that unions have on the negotiating table has led to aggressive tactics by employers. The corporate bodies have worked tirelessly to suppress the power and freedom of unions. Lobbying legislators to make laws that have such an effect is one of the common strategies. The private sector employers have been leading in these processes. As a result, union avoidance consultants who are hired by private sector employers dominate negotiations today. The pro-union employees are denied audience at these meetings, while threats are used to subdue the other employees into submission. Besides using such tactics that deny employees the freedom of expression and association, private-sector employers also classify some employees as independent contractors. Such misclassification is deliberate and intended to bar workers from joining unions. Such unfair and illegal trends in labor relations present unions with challenges and may explain the declining membership.
The current trends are beginning to gradually infiltrate the public sector. However, the only difference between the public and private sectors can be attributed to specific court rulings in previous cases. In Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (431 U.S. 209 (1977), the court ruled that non-union members in the public sector are eligible to pay a fee, which covers collective bargaining as well as contract administration costs. Such prevailing court rulings ensure that the negotiation process in affairs that are related to public sector employees involves the unions. The presence of governing court rulings forbids the public sector from suppressing the unions through illegal means, as happens in the private sector (Bivens, Engdahl, & Gould, 2017). The mere fact that employees in the public sector pay union fees as members or non-members entitles them to benefits that result from collective bargaining.
The collective bargaining process comes across as a critical tool for employees. The unions utilize the tool to ensure that employees get the best returns from their employers. The influence of collective bargaining is tangible and makes a big impact on employees. Private-sector employers who use illegal tactics to keep unions out of their negotiations confirm this impact. They seek to suppress the employees’ freedom of representation and association. The developments that have taken place due to collective bargaining in negotiations that involve both unions and employers are significant. Mediation and arbitration techniques play important roles in the collective bargaining process. The two are important in the creation of dispute resolution frameworks (Zack & Kochan, 2019). The employer and union negotiate on certain issues. When they cannot reach an agreement, they involve a third party who provides an impartial opinion. The main parties are not bound by the impartial opinion in mediation. However, in arbitration, the parties are bound by the impartial opinion (University of Missouri, 2015). Therefore, the two techniques improve the collective bargaining process and make it more fruitful for all parties.
Value of the Various Organizational Leadership Competencies
Collective bargaining is a process that is used to resolve disputes and create favorable obligations for both employers and employees. Since it involves more than one party, communication is an important element. All parties should be in apposition to air their grievances and opinions with goodwill. The desired result is to find an agreement that is amicable for all parties. Verbal, written, and non-verbal communication styles are involved in the entire process. The communication aspect is dependent on the culture and climate of an organization. Constant feedback is important for combating the problems that arise during the communication process. The ability to maintain an attitude that is geared towards problem-solving is important for fast-tracking the collective bargaining process (Ferreira, 2006).
The process of finding solutions to disputes and other issues demands teamwork from all involved parties. The ability to work together with all parties regardless of the current issues facilitates faster resolution. Analytical skills are also important in breaking down the issues in a logical manner. The skills enable the involved parties to understand each aspect that contributes to or is affected by the issue at hand. To understand these aspects, all parties need to conduct research about the prevailing issue. The employer approaches it strategically by visualizing the effect of the results on the company’s goals. The union is concerned about its mandate towards its members. Therefore, the two parties tend to conflict as each fails to compromise. To alleviate such situations, ethical and legal policies come in handy (SHRM, 2005). For instance, ensuring that employees access a minimum wage is a discussion, which is dominated by the laws that govern the remuneration of employees in the specific sector and state. In addition, if an employer claims to treat its employees ethically yet provides unsafe work environments, the union can use this aspect to enforce their desired result. Therefore, each of these competencies contributes to successful collective bargaining.
Bivens, J., Engdahl, L., & Gould, E. (2017). How today’s unions help working people. Retrieved from Economic Policy Institute: https://www.epi.org/publication/how-todays-unions-help-working-people-giving-workers-the-power-to-improve-their-jobs-and-unrig-the-economy/
Ferreira, G. M. (2006). Communication in the labour relationship. Politeia, 25(3), 273-286.
SHRM. (2005). The Future of Unions. Workplace Visions(4), pp. 1-8. Retrieved from https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/labor-market-and-economic-data/Documents/Visions1005.pdf
University of Missouri. (2015). What is the Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration? Retrieved from https://law.missouri.edu/arbitrationinfo/2015/08/20/what-is-the-difference-between-mediation-and-arbitration/
Zack, A. M., & Kochan, T. A. (2019). Mediation and Conciliation in Collective Labor Conflicts in the USA. Mediation in Collective Labor Conflicts , 309-322.
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6-2 FINAL PROJECT MILESTONE TWO: SHORT PAPER: COLLECTIVE BARGAINING—EMPLOYEE WAGES AND BENEFITS
The 5-10 page paper is centered around the broad topic of building a relationship between management and labor.
Be sure to follow APA format guidelines, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font, one-inch margins and discipline-appropriate citations. Include subject headings.
An example of appropriate subject headings include: Role of Management and Unions in Society, Historical Precedents and Current Trends, Labor Relations as a System, Collective Bargaining Process, Organizational Leadership Competencies, Collective Bargaining Agreement.
A separate Title Page and Reference Page is required.
The Reference Page MUST include at least 5 scholarly references (to substantiate your claims). Be sure to use SHRM.org as a resource.
Students will provide a summary of the key lessons learned during the negotiating process of this course as well as a reflection on the other course outcomes. Below are specific points to include in the paper:
- What is the role of management and unions in society today? How has this changed in the last 100 years?
- How does the history of unions and the collective bargaining process impact negotiations today? What are some of the current trends or problems in labor relation practices?
- Would this negotiation process differ if it involved a public compared to a private-sector union? Please explain.
- How has this exercise increased your understanding of the collective bargaining process? What is your assessment of the value of mediation and arbitration in this process?
- Explain the value of the various organizational leadership competencies (communication, problem solving, teamwork, analytical skills, legal and ethical practices, strategic approach, and research) that are important to be successful in this type of negotiating proce