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Chapter 14

ADMS 2600 Chapter 14 notes.docx

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York University
Administrative Studies
ADMS 2600
Sung Kwon

Chapter 14: The Dynamics of Labour Relations Process of collective bargaining negotiations  union local will normally meet with its membership and decide on demands for changes to the collective agreement  management will review the demands and try to reconcile them with the financial situation of the organization; will then come up with its own demands and counteroffers  two sides will meet, perhaps over a few weeks or months, and conduct tough bargaining, usually in good faith and respectfully  both sides will most likely make concessions on their original positions and sign a collective bargaining agreement to cover the workplace, usually over the next 2 to 4 years Unions - workers’ associations formed to enhance their power in dealing with employers and improve their pay and working conditions - have been an important force shaping organizational practices, legislation, and political thought in Canada - remain of interest because of their influence on organizational productivity and HR policies and practices - about 30 percent of all employees in Canada are unionized, with rates higher in the public sector (71 percent) than in the private sector (16 percent - can affect significantly the ability of managers to direct and control the various functions of HRM - essential that managers in both the union and the nonunion environment understand how unions operate and be thoroughly familiar with the important body of law governing labour relations Government Regulation of Labour Relations Labour relations in Canada - regulated by a multiplicity of federal and provincial laws - specific laws, or acts, for different sectors, industries, and workers - system is highly decentralized - 90 percent of workers are governed by provincial legislation The Industrial Relations Disputes and Investigation Act (1948) - specified the right of workers to join unions, allowed unions to be certified as bargaining agents by a labour relations board, required management to recognize a certified union as the exclusive bargaining agent for a group of employees, required both unions and management to negotiate in good faith, outlined unfair labour practices by both unions and management, and created a two-stage compulsory conciliation process that was mandatory before strikes or lockouts became legal - became Canada Labour Code Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) - established to administer and enforce the Canada Labour Code labour relations board - each province - administers labour law and provincial labour law statutes, such as the Ontario Labour Relations Act (The exception is Quebec, which has a labour court and commissioners.) - members are generally government appointees - generally autonomous from the federal government and have representatives from both labour and management The duties of the labour relations board include:  Administering the statutory procedures for the acquisition, transfer, and termination of bargaining rights  Hearing complaints related to unfair labour practices  Supervising strikes and lockout votes  Determining whether bargaining was done in good faith  Remedying violations of labour legislation Test Your Labour Relations Know-How 1. During a labour organizing drive, supervisors questioned individual employees about their union beliefs. Was this questioning permissible? o no. Individual questioning of employees about their union membership or activities is unlawful. 2. While an organizing drive was underway, an employer agreed—as a social gesture—to furnish refreshments at a holiday party. Was the employer acting within the law? o yes. However, this must be part of normal conduct and cannot be interpreted as a gesture to buy votes. 3. A company distributed to other anti-union employers in the area a list of job applicants known to be union supporters. Was the distribution unlawful? o yes. Blacklisting of job applications or employees is against labour law. 4. During a union organizing drive, the owner of Servo Pipe promised her employees a wage increase if they would vote against the union. Can the owner legally make this promise to her employees? o no. During an organizing drive, an employer cannot promise improvements in wages or benefits as a means of defeating the union. 5. John Green, a maintenance engineer, has a poor work record. Management wishes to terminate his employment; however, Green is a union steward and is highly critical of the company. Can management legally discharge this employee? o yes. Employees can be disciplined or discharged for work-related misconduct but not solely because of their union affiliations or union sentiments. The Labour Relations Process 1. workers desire collective representation 2. the union begins its organizing campaign and, if successful, is certified and recognized 3. collective negotiations lead to a contract 4. the contract is administered Laws and administrative rulings influence each event by granting special privileges to, or imposing defined constraints on, workers, managers, and union officials. Why Employees Unionize  economic needs  general dissatisfaction with managerial practices  social and leadership concerns  union-shop provisions o requires employees to join as a condition of employment Economic Needs - dissatisfaction with wages, benefits, and working conditions appear to provide the strongest reason to join a union - unions are built on traditional issues of wages, benefits, and working conditions Dissatisfaction with Management - employees may seek unionization when they perceive that managerial practices regarding promotion, transfer, shift assignment, or other job-related policies are administered in an unfair or biased manner - favouritism shown by managers a major reason for joining unions o particularly true when the favouritism concerns the HR areas of discipline, promotion, job assignments, and training opportunities - failure of employers to give employees an opportunity to participate in decisions affecting their welfare may encourage union membership o one reason managers begin employee involvement programs and seek to empower their employees is to avoid collective action by employees Social and Leadership Concerns - employees may join unions as a means of satisfying needs for recognition and social affiliation - they have an opportunity to fraternize with other employees who have similar desires, interests, problems, and gripes through their union - to enjoy the companionship of others and to benefit in the prestige and value that organization may provide - union also enables them to put leadership talents to use as officers of the union and representatives of fellow employees - employees became union stewards so that they could be seen as ―a fellow your buddies look to‖ and as a person who ―stands up to the boss‖ Organizing Campaigns - once employees desire to unionize, a formal organizing campaign may be started either by a union organizer or by employees acting on their own behalf - most organizing campaigns are initiated by employees rather than by union organizers - large national unions have formal organizing departments whose purpose is to identify organizing opportunities and launch organizing campaigns Organizing Steps 1. Employee/union contact 2. Initial organizational meeting 3. Formation of an in-house organizing committee 4. Application to a labour relations board 5. Issuance of a certificate by a labour relations board 6. Election of a bargaining committee and contract negotiations Step 1: Employee/union contact - explore the possibility of unionization - employees investigate the advantages of representation, and union officials begin to gather information on employee needs, problems, and grievances - union organizers also seek specific information about the employer's financial health, supervisory styles, and organizational policies and practices - to win employee support, labour organizers must build a case against the employer and for the union - most organizing drives take place inside the company Step 2: Initial organizational meeting - attract more supporters - organizer uses the information gathered in Step 1 to address employee needs and explain how the union can secure these goals - two additional purposes of organizational meetings are o to identify employees who can help the organizer direct the campaign o to establish communication chains that reach all employees Step 3: Formation of an in-house organizing committee - composed of employees willing to provide leadership to the campaign - committee's role is to interest other employees in joining the union and in supporting its campaign - an important task of the committee is to have employees sign an authorization card indicating their willingness to be represented by a union in collective bargaining with their employer o union membership cards are confidential once signed, & only labour relations board has access to them o number of signed authorization cards demonstrates the potential strength of the labour union o legislation across Canada requires a union to collect authorization cards as a first step in union certification process o two different processes for union certification used in Canada  card-check  a union is certified to represent the workers if the union submits to the labour board authorization cards on behalf of a majority of workers (such as 55 percent) in an appropriate bargaining unit  mandatory ballot  union must obtain authorization cards on behalf of a certain number of workers (in Ontario, it is 40 percent or more) to obtain a vote  labour board orders a vote of employees in the bargaining unit, which the union must win (those who do not vote are not assumed to be voting against certification of the union) Step 4: Application to a labour relations board - submits to the labour board its authorization cards, but the employer does not get to see them - labour board then applies the model, either certifying the union on the basis of a card-check, ordering a vote in provinces that use a mandatory ballot model, or dismissing the application if the union does not submit the required number of authorization cards Step 5: Issuance of a certificate by a labour relations board - if the union is successful, the board will ―certify‖ the union - if the union fails to meet the required test, the board will dismiss the application Step 6: Election of a bargaining committee and contract negotiations - bargaining committee is put in place to start negotiating a collective agreement - if the union is a national union, usually a national representative works with the bargaining committee to negotiate a collective agreement with the company - labour relations legislation imposes a duty on employers and unions to bargain in good faith and make reasonable efforts to complete a collective agreement Employer Tactics - employers must not interfere with the labour relations process of certification - prohibited by law from dismissing, disciplining, or threatening employees for exercising their right to form a union - cannot promise better conditions, such as increased vacation days, if the employees vote for no union or choose one union over another - cannot threaten to close the business - cannot unilaterally change wages and working conditions during certification proceedings or during collective bargaining - must bargain in good faith, meaning that they must demonstrate a commitment to bargain seriously and fairly - cannot participate in the formation, selection, or support of unions representing employees - can make the case that the employees have the right not to join a union and that they can deal directly with the employer on any issue - employer resistance to unionization is the norm in Canada, and opposition has been found to decrease the probability of successfully organizing - employers’ attempts to influence employees are scrutinized closely by officials of the organizing union and by the labour relations board Employer ―Don'ts‖ During Union Organizing Campaigns  Attending union meetings, spying on employee–union gatherings, and questioning employees about the content of union meetings  Questioning current employees about their union sentiments—especially about how they might vote in a union election  Threatening or terminating employees for their union support or beliefs  Changing the working conditions of employees because they actively work for the union or simply support its ideals  Supplying the names, addresses, and phone numbers of employees to union representatives or other employees sympathetic to or opposed to the union  Promising employees improvements in working conditions if they vote against the union  Accepting or reviewing union authorization cards or pro-union petitions because employees’ names are listed on these documents  Providing financial or any other support to employees opposed to unionization Union Tactics - prohibited from interfering with the formation of an employer's organization - cannot intimidate or coerce employees to become or remain members of a union - cannot force employers to dismiss, discipline, or discriminate against nonunion employees - must provide fair representation for all employees in the bargaining unit , whether in collective bargaining or in grievance procedure cases - cannot engage in activities such as strikes before the expiration of the union contract. unfair labour practices (ULPs) - any of the prohibited activities noted above for both employers and unions - charges of ULPs are filed with the labour relations board, whose duty it is to enforce labour relations legislation Unfair Labour Practices Unfair labour practices by employers include  Helping to establish or administer a union  Altering the working conditions of the employees while a union is applying for certification without the union's consent  Using intimidation, coercion, threats, promises, or exercising undue influence while a union is being organized  Failing to recognize or bargain with the certified union  Hiring professional strike breakers Unfair labour practices by unions include  Contributing financial or other support to an employer's organization  Not representing fairly the employees in the bargaining unit  Bargaining or negotiating a collective agreement with an employer while another union represents the employees in the bargaining unit  Calling or authorizing an unlawful strike or threatening to do so  Threatening or intimidating workers to influence their support for the union How Employees Become Unionized - labour relations board must certify a union before it can act as a bargaining unit for a group of employees - to acquire certification: o union must demonstrate that it has obtained the minimum level of membership support required by the labour relations board o obtain the right to represent workers through voluntary recognition, a process in which the employer simply agrees to recognize the union as the representative of the employees Voluntary Recognition - all employers, except those in Quebec, may voluntarily recognize and accept a union - rarely happens, except in the construction industry, where there is a great reliance on union hiring halls Contract Negotiation - once a bargaining unit has been certified by the labour relations board, the employer and the union are legally obligated to bargain in good faith over the terms and conditions of a collective agreement - terms of a collective agreement apply for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years, although there is no legally mandated maximum - as the contract expiry date approaches, either party must notify the other of its intention to bargain for a renewal collective agreement or contract negotiation Decertification - application for decertification can be made to the labour relations board if o majority of employees indicate that they do not want to be represented by the union o majority of employees want to be represented by another union o union has failed to bargain - if a collective agreement has been reached with the employer, this application can be made only at specified times, such as a few months before the agreement expires - employees can initiate an application for decertification if the union fails to bargain Impact of Unionization on Managers Why would employers oppose the unionization of their employees? 1. wages and benefits are higher in union organizations compared to similar nonunion organizations 2. unions can have a significant effect on the rights exercised by management in making decisions about employees 3. unionization restricts the freedom of management to formulate HR policy unilaterally and can challenge the authority of supervisors Challenges to Management Decisions - unions typically attempt to achieve greater participation in management decisions that affect their members - decisions may involve such issues as the subcontracting of work, productivity standards, and job content - employers quite naturally seek to claim many of these decisions as their exclusive management rights - union may challenge and erode these prerogatives at the bargaining table, through the grievance procedure, and through strikes Loss of Supervisory Authority - for managers and supervisors, the focal point of the union's impact is at the operating level (the shop floor or office facility), where the terms of the collective agreement are implemented on a daily basis o e.g. terms can determine what corrective action is to be taken in directing and in disciplining employees o supervisors must be certain they can demonstrate just cause for their actions because these actions can be challenged by the union and the supervisor called as a defendant during a grievance hearing - if the challenge is upheld, the supervisor's effectiveness in coping with subsequent disciplinary problems may be impaired - specific contract language can also reduce the supervisor's ability to manage in areas such as scheduling, training, transfers, performance evaluation, and promotions - under provisions of the collective agreement, supervisors may have to promote employees by seniority rather than by individual merit Structures, Functions, and Leadership of Labour Unions Craft unions - represent skilled craft workers, such as carpenters or masons - International Association of Iron Workers, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, and the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters industrial unions - represent unskilled and semiskilled workers employed along industry lines - Canadian Union of Postal Workers, United Auto Workers, United Steelworkers, and the Office and Professional Employees International Union - technological changes, union mergers, and competition among unions for members have helped reduce it - today, skilled and unskilled workers, white-collar and blue-collar workers, and professional groups are being represented by both types of unions (craft and industrial) employee associations - represent various groups of professional and white-collar employees - Federation of Quebec Nurses, Alberta Teachers Association - may function as unions and become just as aggressive as unions in representing members Three levels of labour organizations 1. central labour congresses 2. international and national unions 3. local unions belonging to a parent national or international union The Canadian Labour Congress - central federation of unions - in 2011, the total membership of the CLC was over 3.2 million Canadians and represented the majority of all unions in Canada - considered the most influential labour federation in Canada - mainly a service organization representing over 90 international and national unions that finance the CLC through dues based on membership size - attempts to influence legislation and promote programs that are of interest to labour by lobbying, resolving jurisdictional disputes, maintaining ethical standards, providing education and training to its members, conducting research, and representing Canadian interests in the international labour movement International and National Unions - international unions tend to be affiliates of American unions, with headquarters in the United States - in Canada, there are 39 international unions (with a membership of 1.2 million workers) and 184 national unions (with a membership of 3.1 million) - objectives of these ―umbrella‖ unions are to help organize local unions, to provide strike support, and to assist local unions with, among other things, negotiations and grievance procedures - represent their members’ interests with internal and external constituents - by ensuring that all employers pay similar wages to their unionized workers, they also remove higher wages as a competitive disadvantage - in Canada, most of the decision-making authority in national unions is vested in the local unions or at the bargaining-unit level – bottom-up unionism - many international unions, especially craft unions, are more likely to retain a greater degree of control over the affairs of local unions – top-down unionism Local Unions - employees of any organization can form their own union, with no affiliation to a national or international union - more than 600 independent local unions in Canada - most local unions are members of national or international unions or the CLC, which makes financial resources and advice available to them - unionized employees pay union dues that finance the operation of the local union - tend to make their own decisions but turn to the national union for collective bargaining help, research, and assistance when handling certain types of grievances - officers of a local union are usually responsible for negotiating the local collective agreement, ensuring that the agreement is adhered to, and investigating and processing member grievances - help prevent their members from being treated by their employers in ways that run counter to management- established HR policies - keep members informed through meetings and newsletters Role of the Union (Shop) Steward Union (shop) steward - represents the interests of union members in their relations with immediate supervisors and other members of management - usually elected by the union members in their own department and serve without union pay - often spends considerable time after working hours investigating and handling members’ problems - when representing members during grievance meetings on organizational time, lost earnings are often paid by the local union - can be viewed as a ―person in the middle,‖ caught between conflicting interests and groups - relationship between a manager/supervisor and the union steward can have a major bearing on union– management cooperation and on the efficiency and morale of the workforce Role of the Business Agent - major responsibilities are negotiating and administering the collective agreement and working to resolve problems arising in connection with it - must be all things to all people in their unions - often required to assume the role of counselor in helping union members with both personal and job-related problems - expected to satisfactorily resolve grievances that cannot be settled by union stewards - also administers the daily affairs of the local union Labour Relations in the Public Sector Collective bargaining among federal, provincial, and municipal government employees and among employees in parapublic agencies (private agencies or branches of government acting as extensions of government programs) has been an area of important activity for the union movement. More than 70 percent of public employees are now unionized. The three largest unions in Canada represent public-sector employees. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is the largest union in Canada, with 548,000 members. The second-largest union, with 340,000 members, is the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE). The largest union representing employees at the federal level is the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), with 166,000 members. PSAC comprises 17 different unions representing various groups, such as the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPS), the Social Science Employees Association (SSEA), and air traffic controllers. Growth in these unions is threatened by increased cost-cutting efforts of governments at all levels, resulting in employee reductions. Although public-sector collective bargaining is quite similar to bargaining in the private sector, a number of differences are worth noting. We explore these differences in two contexts: (1) the political nature of the labour–management relationship and (2) public-sector strikes. Political Nature of the Labour-Management Relationship Government employees are not able to negotiate with their employers on the same basis as their counterparts in private organizations. It is doubtful that they will ever be able to do so because of inherent differences between the public and private sectors. One of the significant differences is that labour relations in the private sector have an economic foundation, whereas in government, the foundation tends to be political. Since private employers must stay in business to sell their goods or services, their employees are not likely to make demands that could bankrupt them. A strike in the private sector is a test of the
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