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Chapter 15 Notes: Labor Relations

TERMINOLOGY

Agency shop – a form of union security in which employees who do not belong to the
union must still pay union dues on the assumption that union efforts benefit all workers

Bargaining unit – the group of employees the union will be authorized to represent

Certification – recognition of a union as the exclusive bargaining agent for employees in


a unit, usually after a representation election

Checkoff – a union security provision allowing employees to requires payroll deduction


of union dues

Closed shop – a union security provision requiring an employee to become a member of


the representing union before hire (illegal)

Collective bargaining – an approach to labor relations to which the employer has a


compulsory duty to bargain with the recognized employee union under established
procedures

Decertification – removal of a union as bargaining agent after losing a decertification


election

Fact-finding – a dispute resolution procedure involving a hearing and nonbinding


recommendation by a neutral third party

Interest arbitration – a judicial type of dispute resolution in which an arbitrator hears


evidence and makes an award, either binding or nonbinding

Maintenance-of-membership – a union security provision requiring an employee to


remain a member of the union after joining

Management rights –issues reserved to management that are related to the organization’s
mission, (not subject to bargaining)

Mandatory bargaining issues – terms and conditions of employment such as wages and
hours that must be bargained for

Mediation – a dispute resolution procedure using a neutral third party to facilitate


communication and persuade the parties to reach agreement

Meet and confer – an approach to labor relations in which the employer consents to a
discussion with representatives of employees regarding terms and conditions of
employment. less favorable to the union than collective bargaining
National Labor Relations Board – administrative agency to conduct representation
elections and adjudicate unfair labor practices of employers

Participative decision making (PDM) – in labor-management relations, an approach in


which employee views and suggestions are given serious consideration by management;
a cooperative, rather than adversarial process

Permissive issues – issues that are neither mandatory nor prohibited under collective
bargaining

Right-to-work laws – state laws forbidding unions and employers to agree on union or
agency shops (permitted under the Taft-Hartley Act)

Strike – a work stoppage used by employees to pressure employers to meet union’s


demands. Illegal for many public employees.

Union shop – a union security provision requiring an employee to become a union


member after hire

Unions – associations of employees formed to represent members in collective


bargaining with employers over wages and conditions of employment

AMERICAN TRADE UNION MOVEMENT

• Unions developed when workers realized that their skills gave them bargaining
power
• Unions first gained legal existence in 1842
• Full legal support (federal and state) came almost a 100 years later
• Knights of Labor formed in mid-1800s organized non-skilled and semi-skilled
workers
• American Federation of Labor (AFL) gained dominance in late 1800s (crafts and
skilled trades)
• Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) formed in 1938 by seven national
unions that had been expelled from the AFL (organized on an industry basis)
• Norris-LaGuardia Act of 1932
o Encouraged union activity
o Guaranteed the right to collectively bargain
• Wagner Act of 1935
o Created the National Labor Relations Board
 Required most employers and unions to negotiate fairly with each
other until they agree to a contract that spells out the terms and
conditions of employment for workers who are members of the
union
 Excludes managers and supervisors
 Farm workers
 Families of employers
 Government workers
 Domestic servants
 Railroad employees
o Strengthened the Norris-LaGuardia Act
 Banned unfair labor practices, such as:
• Interference with, restraint, or coercion of employees while
organizing
• Dominance or interference with the union
• Discriminating against employee for union activity
• Retaliation by discharge or discrimination of employee for
filing an unfair labor practices charge
• Refusal to collectively bargain with employees’ duly
chosen representative
 Provided for secret ballot elections
 Provided for majority rule for determining whether an
organization’s employees were to unionize
o Established the National Labor Relations Board to monitor this provisions
o Provided a model for public sector labor legislation at the state level
• Taft-Hartley Act of 1947
o Prohibited unfair union labor practices
 Unions banned from restraining or coercing employees from
exercising their guaranteed bargaining rights
 Union s can not cause an employer to discriminate in any way
against an employee in order to encourage or discourage
membership
 Unions can not refuse to bargain in good faith with the employer
about wages, hours, and other employment conditions

• Prohibits closed shops


• Permitted states to have right-to-work laws
• The Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959
o Officially called the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act
o Established rules for union elections
o Minimal bill or rights for union members
o Regulated activities of union officials and the use of union funds
o Expanded the list of unlawful employer actions

EVOLUTION OF UNIONISM IN GOVERNMENT

• First public employee organization formed in the federal shipyards in 1800’s


• In 1863, New York letter carriers became first federal employee organization with
national significance
• In late 1880’s postal workers organized with the Knights of Labor
• In 1890, National Association of Letter Carriers formed
• In 1906, the National Federation of Postal Clerks was form. (Affiliated with the
AFL)
• Lloyd-Lafollette Act of 1912 guaranteed the right of federal employees to join
unions and petition Congress either individually or through their organizations
• Early unions had no statutory basis for collective bargaining. Employee-employer
relations determined unilaterally by management
o In 1917, the National Federation of Federal Employees formed as the first
“umbrella” organization for all federal employees
o In 1921, the American Federation of Government Employees and the
National Association of Government Employees were formed
• In 1962, President Kennedy gave federal workers the right to form unions AND
collectively bargain over non-wage items when he issued Executive Order 10988
(still no right to strike)
o Major significance in all public sector relations
o Gave a degree of respectability to public employee unions
o Stimulated state legislatures to give state and local employees the right to
organize and bargain collectively
• In 1993, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12871 which gave
management and labor the path to reach a “higher-echelon partnership” through
the use of committees and councils to identify and solve problems
o Order limited to federal sector, but serves as an example for other public
sector employers
• Until the 1960’s, state and local organizations not strongly influential
o Teachers
o Firefighters
o Police
• Unionization in state and local government continued growth in 1970’s
o Number of government employees increased (mostly at state and local
level)
o Private sector unions saw public sector as source of new members
o Public employees observed the improved working conditions and wage
and benefit increases for union members in the private sector
o Legal environment gave most clout the individual person
o Young people entering the work force (tented to mistrust administration
and had a pro-union mentality)

ISSUES OF LABOR RELATIONS IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT


• Major reason employees organize is to bargain collectively for terms and
conditions of employment that they could not achieve individually
• Concept of sovereignty – government cannot yield part of its power to a
nonrepresentative group without violation of sovereignty
• The special nature of government services make labor relations in government
different from private sector. (Disruption of services could be threat to public
welfare)
• Care to oversee that public employee union does not manipulate the government
decision-making process

LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR LABOR RELATIONS

• Currently no federal law governing public sector labor relations at the state and
local level
• U.S. Supreme Court held that in National League of Cities v. Usery that the 10th
Amendment grants a substantial measure of sovereignty to the states in
employment matters
• In 1985, the Court reversed itself in Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit
Authority. The commerce clause permitted states and local government to be
covered by the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act
• Meet and confer approach
• Collective bargaining approach
o Union security provisions
 Closed shop - (outlawed in 1984) required previous membership
 Union shop – mandatory membership within 30 days of
employment
 Agency shop – workers may join or not, but must pay dues either
way
 Maintenance-of-membership
 Checkoff
o Unfair employer practices
 Interfering, restraining practices
 Interfering or assisting in formation or operation of an employee
organization
 Encouraging or discouraging membership in any labor
organization
 Discharging or discriminating against an employee because of
filing charges, giving testimony, forming or joining an employee
organization
 Denying rights of exclusive representation to the legally designated
bargaining agent
 Refusing to follow statutory impasse procedures
 Instituting a lockout
Dealing directly with employees rather than with their bargaining
representative
 Violating the terms of a contract
o Lawful acts of employers
 Free speech
 Right to file unfair labor practice charges against union
 Facilities use
 Disciplinary action
o Unfair union practices
 Interfering with, restraining, or coercing public employees in
regard to protecting the exercise of statutory rights
 Interfering with, restraining, or coercing a public employer in
regard to protecting the exercise of employee rights or selecting a
bargaining representative
 Refusing to meet and bargain in good faith
 Refusing to follow statutory impasse procedures
 Engaging in or instigating a strike
 Interfering with an employee’s work performance or productivity

WHY EMPLOYEES JOIN UNIONS

• Dangerous or undesirable working conditions


• Poor communication between employee and management
• Inequitable pay and benefits
• Poor supervision
• Absence of management concern
• Arbitrary inequity in employee relations

DECISION TO JOIN (OR AVOID) UNION INFLUENCED BY THREE


DETERMINANTS

• Perception of work environment


• Desire to participate or influence
• Beliefs about unions

UNIONIZATION AND COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

• Unit determination
o Community of interest
o Bargaining history
o Efficiency of operations
o Unit size
o Exclusion of supervisory employees
• Election and certification
o Determine if employer allows union to represent unit
• Voluntary recognition
• Representation election
• Majority vote required to become exclusive bargaining
agent
o Certification stands for at least one year
o Decertification election required to remove union as a bargaining agent
o The NLRB does not allow an election -
• During the first year that a bargaining unit is represented by a
particular union
• Within a year of the last election held for that bargaining unit
• During a period covered by a union contract
• Contract negotiations
o Impasse resolution
o Mediation
o Fact-finding
o Interest arbitration

STRIKES BY GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

• Strikes by government employees (Since 1970, granted public sector employees


the right to strike)
• Sickouts, work slowdowns do occur

PUBLIC SECTOR LABOR RELATIONS

• Involves unpriced goods and services


• A monopoly in the local market
• Restricted by budget constraints involving taxes, governmental grants, and short-
term debt
• Strikes often prohibited
• Compulsory arbitration common