Category Archives: Collective Bargaining

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
(subscription required)

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.

Collective Bargaining and Deputy Sheriffs in Florida: An Unusual History

Source: Joan E. Pynes and Brian Corley, Public Personnel Management, Winter 2006, Volume 35, no. 4

There is an unusual history of collective bargaining and deputy sheriffs in the state of Florida. While police officers have been allowed to unionize and collectively bargain since 1968, it has only been since 2003 that deputy sheriffs have been given that right. (Please note that despite the similarities in job duties, deputy sheriffs were not considered to be public employees for the purposes of collective bargaining.)