Category Archives: Collective Bargaining

Collective Bargaining 3.0

Source: Erica Smiley, Dissent, Vol. 62 no. 4, Fall 2015
(subscription required)

The first lesson network leaders learn in the Jobs With Justice training is never give your power away. While easier said in a workshop than in the North Carolina General Assembly, it does compel us to remember how change happens. While we need labor law reform, we should not wait for it to build a movement to expand the scale and scope of collective bargaining. Early industrial unions were bargaining long before the Wagner Act codified the practice, leveraging their ability to halt production when necessary. Only through exercising their power, and even breaking some rules, were they able to win the legal protections to back up workers’ ability to bargain equally with employers. ….

… In a recent article for the American Prospect, Lane Windham of Penn State University adds, “in depending on unions to do the negotiating for a social wage, the U.S. had inadvertently given employers in the U.S. a higher incentive than employers in other nations to fight union organizing.”

And fight they have! The corporate class attacked the very power that makes workers equal at the bargaining table—regardless of whether they are attacking a union or a worker center. The Taft-Hartley Act was the first well-known blow, prohibiting jurisdictional strikes, wildcat strikes, solidarity or political strikes, secondary boycotts, secondary and mass picketing, and more. States could pass right-to-work laws, gutting union membership first in the South, and later throughout the country. Riding this legacy, Scott Walker and the Koch Brothers would have us believe collective bargaining is in its final death throes.

In its current form, it may be…..

Collective Bargaining In 2015–2016 – Analysis and Lists

Source: AFL-CIO’s Center for Strategic Research, September 2015

From the press release:
Working people are achieving significant victories through the most expansive period of collective bargaining in modern labor history, according to a new report by the AFL-CIO’s Center for Strategic Research. …

The AFL-CIO report represents the most comprehensive look at the current state of collective bargaining in a period when an estimated 5 million American workers will bargain for new contracts.

According to the report, working people who bargained for new contracts in the first half of 2015 saw their wages increase by an average of 4.3%, an increase of $1,147 a year for an average wage earner in the United States. These increases are up from 2.9% in the first half of 2014, with substantial wage wins occurring in sectors from nursing and oil to airline pilots and teachers.

Other notable statistics from the report include:
– Among private sector workers: grocery stores, health care, rail transportation, telecom, and auto manufacturing combined account for 31% of workers covered by newly bargained contracts.
– The contracts in the top eight industries include workers from 22 AFL-CIO affiliated unions.
– A combined 2.4 million union members will bargain for new contracts in the top eight industries negotiating contracts.

After Tackett: Incomplete Contracts for Post-Employment Healthcare

Source: Maria O’Brien Hylton, Boston University School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 15-30, August 4, 2015

From the abstract:
This paper examines the recent U.S. Supreme Court retiree health care decision in Tackett v. M & G Polymers and focuses, in particular, on the ostensibly odd silence with respect to a critical contract term — whether the parties in fact agreed that these benefits were vested. Although the union in Tackett insisted these welfare benefits were clearly intended to vest and the employer now asserts they can be modified at any time, the collective bargaining agreement and supporting documents are ambiguous on this question. This paper examines how and why this “silence” persisted for so many decades and concludes that, at least for a while, conscious ambiguity was maintained because it was in the best interests of both parties. Only when the cost of providing the benefits became unbearable did the employer finally take advantage of the long standing silence and assert its right to modify the retiree health plan. Tackett sidelines the Sixth Circuit’s well known decision in Yard-Man as the Court insists upon the importance of applying traditional contract principles in these cases. This paper concludes that even without the favorable inference Yard-Man supplied, it is still possible (although not guaranteed) that the plaintiffs will meet their burden of proof on remand and hold onto their health benefits in retirement.

Become a Master Negotiator: Key strategies for emerging victorious

Source: Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, PM Magazine, Vol. 97 no. 7, August 2015
(subscription required)

To help individuals maximize their bargaining prowess at work and in life, here are seven strategies for emerging victorious in any negotiation:
1. Project confidence through preparedness. …
2. Understand that everything is negotiable. …
3. Create a strong foundation by building relationships first. …
4. Ask for what you want. …
5. Use the power of silence. …
6. Document everything. …
7. Understand exactly what you are signing. …

Collective Bargaining 101

Source: Erin Johansson, Jobs With Justice, August 3, 2015

What is collective bargaining?
– Collective bargaining is the formal process of negotiation between an employer and a group of employees—often with their union representative—that sets the terms and conditions of work.
– Collective bargaining results in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), a legally binding agreement that lays out policies agreed to by management and labor. Because of its role in governing the actions of both management and labor, a CBA is often referred to as the “law” of the workplace. While each agreement is unique to a given labor-management relationship, most CBAs include provisions that address compensation, scheduling, promotions, discipline and job standards. CBAs also usually contain a grievance procedure, which provides a process for resolving disputes between management and labor over interpretation of the contract and in the event of employee discipline or termination……

Other topics covered:
When does collective bargaining occur?…. Who can collectively bargain? …. What Topics Can Employees Bargain Over? ….. The Collective Bargaining Process…. What happens when management and labor don’t agree?….. Expanding the Theater of Bargaining….

Labour Virtual Issue

Source: Oxford University Press, 2015

What is your incentive to work? To labour (or labor, if you prefer), to toil, for a wage, for the security it brings. To be a productive member of society, to contribute and thus in turn to receive. Labour economics is a measure of the supply and demand that work encompasses; your skills, your human capital matched to those needed by an employer. Be it at the individual level, each worker or specific firm, or in terms of the whole labour market, employed, underemployed and unemployment levels, hiring and firing decisions, competition, contracts, and incentives, there is a field of labour economics that relates to your job. This sample of OUP titles, articles, and resources introduces a range of topics on these themes including performance-related pay, gender and wages, labour market institutions, migration, skills, informal work, country studies (rich in data), and achieving a work-life balance.

This virtual issue presents a range of recent publications on the topic of labour from across OUP’s economics program, and explores themes including gender and wages, migration, achieving a work-life balance and more. All content will be freely available until September 30.

Articles include:
Negotiating with Labor under Financial Distress
Source: Efaim Benmelech, Nittai K. Bergman and Ricardo J. Enriquez, Review of Corporate Finance Studies, Vol. 1 no. 1, 2012

Labor Protection and Leverage
Source: Elena Simintzi, Vikrant Vig, Paolo Volpin, Review of Financial Studies, Vol, 28 no. 2, 2015

Cash Transfers and Child Labor
Source: Jacobus de Hoop and Furio C. Rosati, World Bank Research Observer, Vol. 29 no. 2, 2014

Spillover Effects of Minimum Wages in Experimental Wage Negotiations
Source: Marcus Dittrich, Andreas Knabe and Kristina Leipold, CESifo Economic Studies, Vol. 60 no. 4, 2014

The Global Decline of the Labor Share
Loukas Karabarbounis and Brent Neiman, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 129 no. 1, 2014

The Value of Hiring through Employee Referrals
Source: Stephen V. Burks, Bo Cowgill, Mitchell Hoffman and Michael Housman, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 130 no. 2, 2015

Efficiency wages, staggered wages, and union wage-setting
Source: David W. Johnston, Stefanie Schurer, Michael A. Shields and Markus Knell, Oxford Economic Papers, Vol. 66 no. 3, 2014

Organized Labor, the Supreme Court, and Harris v. Quinn: Déjà Vu All Over Again?

Source: William B. Gould IV, Stanford Public Law Working Paper No. 2572695, March 2, 2015

From the abstract:
Harris v Quinn presented this issue anew in 2014 – it was the most recent chapter of litigation concerning “union security agreements” and their permissibility in the public sector – but by no means will it be the last. Harris relates to the constitutionality of such agreements, which compel membership or financial obligations on the part of union represented employees (frequently as a condition of employment) and endure throughout our economy in the private sector, as well as the more recently-organized public portion of it. The resolution of this and related issues inevitably affect, in some measure, the role of trade unions in American society. It cannot be gainsaid that this involves the democratic process itself in a pluralistic society, through which unions attempt to achieve their objectives through both the collective bargaining and political processes. For more than two centuries, the issue of so-called union security agreements, which compel membership in a labor organization in some sense of the word, has been fought out in American labor-management relations and in the courts. Complicating the contemporary relationship is that organized labor is in a period of retreat and decline. Related to this issue is the question of appropriate union discipline authority imposed on workers who defy various kinds of union rules and who are ostracized, for instance, over such matters such as strike-breaking.

The pernicious role of asymmetric history in negotiations

Source: Linda Dezső, George Loewenstein, Jonathan Steinhart, Gábor Neszveda, Barnabás Szászi, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Volume 116, August 2015
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The role of history in negotiations is a double-edged sword. Although parties can develop trust over time, there are also countless examples of protracted feuds that developed as a result of conflicting interpretations and invocations of history. We propose that, due to biased invocations of the past, history is likely to play a pernicious role in negotiations – particularly when given an asymmetric history in which one party benefited at the expense of the other. We test this prediction in two, two-stage experiments. We find that asymmetric history in a first stage leads to increased impasses in a second stage, but that this effect holds only when the second stage pairs the same two parties who shared the asymmetric history in the first.

• Two experiments demonstrate the significance of asymmetric history in negotiations.
• In both experiments, dyads negotiate to divide joint earnings.
• We find incompatible bargaining claims when partners share asymmetric history.
• Asymmetry only matters when parties share history.

How history adds conflict to negotiations
Source: Shilo Rea – Carnegie Mellon, Futurity, June 22, 2015

New research shows how past histories can harm negotiations, particularly when an event in the past benefited one party at the other’s expense.

In these situations, the party that got the short end of the stick tends to believe that they’re owed retribution. The party that triumphed in the past, in contrast, tends to think that the past is irrelevant—bygones should be treated as bygones.

Although different sides can develop trust over time, there are also countless instances of prolonged feuds that developed because of conflicting histories.

A prime example is World War II, which was fought in part to rectify perceived wrongs from the past. The phenomenon also extends to day-to-day situations such as sharing utility costs with a roommate or jockeying for position at grocery store checkout lanes.