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Chapter 14

mhr chapter 14 - union management framework.docx

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Ryerson University
Human Resources
MHR 523
Rasha Narsa

Chapter 14 – Union Management Framework (Pg. 492-508 + 512-522) IR & HR Perspective on Workplace Conflict A union is an organization with the legal authority to represent workers, negotiate the terms and conditions of employment with the employer, and administer the collective agreement A collective agreement is a labour contract that addresses a variety of issues such as wages, benefits, working conditions, etc. • It is usually negotiated between the local union’s bargaining committee and the HR department • It places restrictions on management’s rights in managing the workplace Why do Employees Join Unions? Reasons for Joining • Job dissatisfaction • Individual attitudes toward unions • Perceived union instrumentality Reasons for NOT Joining • Belief that union membership may harm chances for promotion • Viewed as having another “boss” • Extra costs for union dues and strikes • Negative opinions toward collective action Unions • Canadian Labour Congress – Represents unions in Canada (3 million members) • Secession – Canada from international – More autonomy Arbitration • disputing parties involved present their disagreement to one arbitrator or a panel of private, independent and qualified third party “arbitrators.” The arbitrator(s) determine the outcome of the case. Mediation • a neutral and impartial third party, the mediator, facilitates dialogue in a structured multi-stage process to help parties reach a conclusive and mutually satisfactory agreement. Conciliation • Government appointed 3 party to explore solutions to the dispute. Labour Relations Boards (LRBs) • Boards set up in the federal and provincial jurisdictions to administer labour relations legislation • More flexible than courts of law in their procedures for resolving complaints The Union Organizes a Campaign • Employees get in touch with an existing union • Initial organizing Meeting • Formation of an in-house organizing committee • Begin campaign to organize • The outcome Getting Bargaining Rights • Certification – legal recognition – Voluntary recognition: if union organized majority of employees and employer feels that this was done without pressure – Regular certification: depends on jurisdiction (by LRB) – Prehearing vote/automatic certification due to unfair labour practices Unfair Labour Practices Management • Interfering in the formation of a union or contributing financially • Discriminating based on union membership or because employee exercises rights • Intimidating or coercing an employee to join or not join Union • Trying to bargain when the union is not the certified agent • Persuading employees during working hours, or at the workplace to join or not join • Illegal strikes • Failing to represent employees fairly During a union organizing campaign, employers can: • Express their views and opinions regarding unions • State their position regarding the desirability of remaining non-union • Prohibit distribution of union literature on their property or co. time (But not outside) • Increase wages, make promotions as normal course of business but often frozen until decided • Assemble employees during work hours to state company’s position Administering the Collective Agreement • Grievance – A written complaint that some aspect of a collective agreement has been violated. Filed by an individual union member, the union or management. Most grievances are filed by the union. – To allow higher level managers and union reps to look ardthe issue from different perspectives, decreasing the need for arbitration (3 party) Typical Grievance Procedure Administering the Collective Agreement • Grievance: Complaint that some aspect of a collective agreement has been violated • Grievance procedures: Most collective agreements include formal multi-step procedures to resolve grievances • Arbitration: The settling of a dispute by a 3 party Contract Provisions • Union Security (Closed shop, Dues check off) • Seniority: Unions prefer to have employee-related decisions based on the length of employment • Discipline: “Just cause” is required to discipline or discharge • Past Practice: Precedent is a new standard Union Suppression or Substitution • When a facility is non-unionized • Union Suppression – Fighting union representation – e.g. employer intimidates workers, threatens to close operation • Union Substitution – Examines what unions bring to the employment relationship and tries to introduce these features – Advocated by many HR practitioners, consultants, and labour lawyers Are Unions Always a Good Thing? • Corruption • Teamsters United Autoworkers • Legacy costs – Expenses a company incurs in a previous era usually through commitments to benefit plans UAW and legacy costs • US automakers paid more per hour than foreign plants (in the US) • 50% higher – not in $$ but in benefits (retiree) • 1 labour hour in US plant costs 75$ • 1 labour hour in foreign car plant in US 50$ • 24$ is funding retiree benefits  legacy costs Legacy Costs • Wanted to keep their employees • UAW negotiated very generous terms (back in the day) that allowed retirees to receive healthcare benefits (from cradle to grave) + generous pension •  2007 – legacy costs added 1700 dollars to the cost of each car produced •  closures of 2008, the added costs werer 3000 dollars! Wal-Mart • Non-unionized except – 1 in Gatineau – shut down – 1 in St. Hyacinthe • “because of their determination, the workers have made history, but it was hard won” • Union negotiations failed! • Ruled that it would affect the Wal-Mart model • Wal-Mart pays mall wage gain of 30¢ an hour in each of the next two years. The reason: To prevent them from being "impoverished" by dues paid to a union that failed to justify wages increases to the arbitrator. Who protects? • Employees vs. Organizations • Unions vs. Organizations • Unions vs. Employees? Why Employees Seek Union Representation • Collective Agreement: A labour contact that addresses a variety of issues such as wages and benefits, hours of work, working conditions, grievance procedures, safety standards, probationary periods, and work assignments. Usually negotiated between the local union's bargaining committee and the human resource or industrial relations department. Causes of Unions • The union push explanation asserts that some employees are pushed or forced into joining a union. (peer pressure, how they are being treated in the workplace) • The union pull explanation states that employees are pulled into the union because of the benefits of union representation (such as higher wages, greater benefits, job security, and grievance representation). • Three factors that appear to be most important in the decision of an individual joining a union are job dissatisfaction, individual attitudes toward unions in general, and perceived union instrumentality (beliefs about what unions can do for an employee) • Reasons not to join a union: “just another boss”, ruins the chances of promotions Labour Unions Goals and Structures Unions Goals and Philosophy • A union's objectives are influenced internally by the wishes of their members, the aspirations of their leaders, and the financial and membership strength of the union. • Business Unionism: Unions whose mission is to protect workers, increase their pay, improve their working conditions, and help workers in general. Recognizes that a union can survive
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