The Challenges of Negotiating Labor Agreements in Uncertain Times

Source: Amanda Cuba, HR News, Vol. 75 no. 4, April 2009
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There is no arguing that these are difficult times for everyone. With the economic crisis still in full force, employers find themselves facing a wide variety of challenges that could deeply affect their organizations and their employees.

Some might have to cut staff, freeze hiring for open positions, put off creating new positions and delay purchasing new equipment. And, of course, there is the major issue of how the economic crisis will affect employees.

One area where public sector employers might face some huge hurdles is in negotiating labor agreements through their unions. When there is little money to go around, higher-ups are less likely to be able to provide unions with everything they request. In some cases, employers may even pressure unions to accept decreases in compensation for their members and to make other concessions regarding work rules.

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