Category Archives: Collective Bargaining

Moving from Interest-Based to Results-Focused Bargaining

Source: John R. Stepp and Gary I. Bergel, Perspectives on Work, Vol. 11 no. 2, Winter, 2008
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More than two decades ago Roger Fisher and William Ury published Getting to Yes, ground-breaking research on how to conduct negotiations to yield superior outcomes for all parties. … Known by a variety of names (including Mutual Gains Bargaining and Win-Win Bargaining), Fisher and Ury’s methodology, which they refer to as Interest-Based Negotiations (IBN), has been promoted as a more effective alternative to the typically adversarial methods used in traditional labor negotiations. In the zeal to tone down the adversarial and dysfunctional aspects of traditional bargaining, however, some IBN devotees have removed components of traditional bargaining that we believe to be legitimate and productive, while they have added or emphasized features that seemingly elevate form over function, leaving labor and management bargainers frequently frustrated and disappointed. …we are convinced that a synthesis of traditional contract negotiations and IBN is much more effective than either approach by itself. This synthesis, which we refer to as Results-Focused Bargaining (RFB), uses the interest-based methodology as the foundation and borrows selectively from more traditional methods of negotiating. This article examines IBN’s shortcomings and the RFB alternative, with a focus on transformational negotiations.

Airline Negotiations and the New Concessionary Bargaining

Source: Gary Chaison
Journal of Labor Research
Fall 2007

The author asks whether the highly confrontational collective bargaining in the airlines is uniques to that industry or a sign of a deepening crisis in union-management relations nationally. First, airline labor relations are reviewed in the context of extremely contentious negotiations, intense industry competition, complex and fragmented bargaining structures, frequent bankruptcies, and unpredictable external shocks. Next, concessionary bargaining in the airlines is discussed, and a new and extreme form of concessionary bargaining is identified. The emergence of the new concessionary bargaining in the airlines and its spread to the automobile sector is then interpreted as the early signs of a fundamental transformation of collective bargaining. The implications of the new concessionary bargaining are then described at the workplace, company, union and societal levels.

NLRB General Counsel Seeks Tougher Remedies in First Contract Bargaining Cases

Source: Ellen Dannin and Anne Lofaso, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 58 no. 3, Fall 2007

Following an interview conducted by CCH with NLRB General Counsel Ronald Meisburg on a remedies initiative in first contract bargaining cases, Ellen Dannin, Professor of Law, Penn State Dickinson School of Law and Anne M. Lofaso, Associate Professor of Law, West Virginia University College of Law commented on the initiative.

Ensuring employee free choice is a high priority for National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Ronald Meisburg. That means focusing on the need for success in first contract bargaining. Concerned by statistics and anecdotal evidence showing that about half of all refusal to bargain charges are filed during first contract bargaining and that the merit rate for those charges is higher than the merit rate in all other types of unfair labor practice charges, Meisburg has instructed the Regions to seek the following additional remedies on a regular basis in cases where bad faith bargaining tactics or other violations substantially delay or hinder negotiations in first contract bargaining cases: requiring bargaining on a prescribed or compressed schedules, such as is granted in contempt situations; periodic reports on bargaining status; minimum six-month extension of the certification year; reimbursement of bargaining costs.

Union Dues Objections: A Twisted Path to Endless Litigation

Source: Ronald Miller, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 58 no. 3, Fall 2007

It’s been thirty years since the U.S. Supreme Court decided Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, holding that requiring nonunion members of a bargaining unit in the public sector to provide financial support for the collective bargaining activities of a union in the form of agency fee payments did not violate the nonmembers’ First Amendment rights. However, three recent decisions, including one by the Supreme Court, make it clear that implementing an agency fee program that meets constitutional muster is still a troubling issue in a number of respects.

Exclusive Representation and the Wagner Act: The Structure of Federal Collective Bargaining Law

Source: Raymond Hogler Labor Law Journal, Vol. 58 no. 3, Fall 2007

Conditions for collective bargaining in the United States are poor and deteriorating. A large body of labor law scholarship documents the weakness of legal protections and processes designed to promote unionism in this country. Professor Morris’s theory about minority union bargaining is offered as a means of strengthening unions in a hostile environment. This article argues that the strategy is a risky one because it invites a resurgence of company unions, which threatened to overwhelm the modern American labor movement at its inception in the 1930s. A better option would be for labor to attack the root source of its contemporary decline. The three pillars of collective bargaining as envisioned by Wagner are independent unions, exclusive representation, and organizational security. The malignancy of right to work laws has destroyed one of those pillars. Morris’s vision of going back to the future would eliminate the other two.

Charter Schools and Collective Bargaining: Compatible Marriage or Illegitimate Relationship?

Source: Martin H. Malin and Charles Kerchner, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 30 no. 3, Summer 2007

From the abstract:
The rapid increase in charter schools has been fueled by the view that traditional public schools have failed because of their monopoly on public education. Charter schools, freed from the bureaucratic regulation that dominates traditional public schools, are viewed as agents of change that will shock traditional public schools out of their complacency. Among the features of the failed status quo are teacher tenure, uniform salary grids and strict work rules, matters that teacher unions hold dear. Yet unions have begun organizing teachers in charter schools. This development prompts the question whether unionization and charter schools are compatible.

Right To Work and the Colorado Labor Peace Act: How Politics Trumped Policy

Source: Raymond L. Hogler, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 58, No. 2, Summer 2007

In early 2007, the Colorado legislature passed a bill to modify Colorado’s Labor Peace Act (the CLPA). This statute contains a feature found nowhere else in American labor law. It requires that if a union wins certification under the federal National Labor Relations Act, the union must also prevail in a state secret ballot election before it can legally propose a union security clause in the collective bargaining agreement. The voting requirement is unusual in that it requires at least a three-quarters majority of eligible voters in the bargaining unit. The proposed modification, HB 1072, would have eliminated the second election and moved Colorado to the status of a union security state rather than a “modified” right to work state. Business groups in the state mobilized an intense political campaign against the bill. The bill was passed by both the House and the Senate. Governor Ritter, who had received strong support from organized labor during his campaign and had indicated that the change would be acceptable, exercised his veto power to kill the legislation. This article examines the event from the perspective of right to work laws generally and as an exemplary case study of ideology and symbolism as they impact American workers. Right to work laws frustrate, rather than protect, the interests of workers in their collective well-being, and there is no credible evidence to support the claim that union security negatively affects a state’s economic development. What the Colorado experience demonstrates, with remarkable clarity, is that rhetoric, power, and partisanship continue to dominate labor policy in this country. That fact has profound implications fro the organized labor movement.

Wages and the Social Contract – Needed: More Worker Bargaining Power

Source: Thomas A. Kochan, American Prospect, Vol. 18 no. 5, May 2007

From the end of World War II through the mid 1970s, the real wages of American workers nearly doubled, moving up in tandem with the growth in productivity. The United States benefited from an implicit social contract: By working hard and contributing to productivity, profits, and economic growth, workers and their families could expect improved living standards, greater job security, and a secure and dignified retirement. This social contract broke down after 1980, as employees lost their bargaining power. Since then, productivity has grown more than 70 percent while real compensation of nonmanagerial workers has remained flat.

Wages for the lowest-paid workers have collapsed even more than for average workers. While conventional explanations for stagnant wages and increased inequality— such as those that emphasize technological changes and increased premium for skills—may be part of the story, they fail to take into account the historical policy and institutional forces that created and sustained the postwar social contract, or to understand what needs to be done to restore it in a way consistent with the needs of today’s workforce and economy.

“Fighting for Our Share of the American Pie”: The 1985 Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Strike

Source: Jennifer L. Worley, Labor Studies Journal, Vol. 32 no. 1, March 2007
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This article analyzes the 1985 Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel strike and places it in the context of the declining American steel industry and deteriorating relationship between the steel companies and the United Steelworkers of America. Within the hostile 1980s economic and political climate, steelworkers at Wheeling-Pitt unleashed a repertoire of bargaining tactics that would help them achieve at least some of their demands while preventing the company’s liquidation. Besides exploring the reasons why steelworkers struck a bankrupt company and how they secured their demands, the article demonstrates how the strike offered new strategies for negotiating with capital at a time when unions’ options were severely limited.

2007 Employer Bargaining Objectives

Source: Joshua Joseph, David J. Group, Berenice Eberhart, Robert Combs, Daily Labor Report, BNA, no. 25, Wednesday, February 7, 2007
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BNA’s 2007 survey on employer bargaining objectives is based on survey responses from 105 participating employers with contracts expiring in 2007 and covers wage adjustments and other pay provisions, insurance and health benefits, pension and retirement plans, paid leave, other benefits and services, and job security.