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Chapter Summary
This chapter explores human resource activities in organizations where employees belong to
unions or where employees are seeking to organize unions. The chapter begins by formally
defining unions and labor relations, and then describes the scope and impact of union activity.
Next, it summarizes government laws and regulations affecting unions and labor relations. The
following three sections detail types of activities involving unions: union organizing, contract
negotiations, and contract administration. Finally, the chapter identifies ways in which unions
and management are working together in arrangements that are more cooperative than the
traditional labor-management relationship.
Learning Objectives
After studying this chapter, the student should be able to:
1. Define unions and labor relations and their role in organizations.
2. Identify the labor relations goals of management, labor unions, and society.
3. Summarize legal requirements that affect labor relations.
4. Describe the union organizing process.
5. Explain how management and unions negotiate contracts.
6. Summarize the practice of contract administration.
7. Describe more cooperative approaches to labor-management relations.
Extended Chapter Outline
Note: Key terms are boldface and are listed in the Chapter Vocabulary section.
I. Introduction
1. Workers may negotiate differences with their employers individually or they may form
unions to negotiate on their behalf.

II. Role of Unions and Labor Relations
In the United States today, most workers act as individuals to select jobs that are acceptable and
to negotiate pay, benefits, flexible hours, and other work conditions. At times however, when
workers have believed their needs and interests do not receive enough consideration from
management, their response to the situation is to form and join unions. Unions are organizations
formed for the purpose of representing their members interests and resolving conflicts with
Unions have a role because some degree of conflict is inevitable between workers and
management. It is through systems for hearing complaints and negotiating labor contracts,
unions and managers resolve conflicts between employers and employees.
Labor relations is a specialized field that emphasizes skills managers and union leaders can use
to foster effective labor-management cooperation, minimize costly forms of conflict, such as
strikes, and seek win-win solutions to disagreements.
Labor relations involves three levels of decisions:
a. Labor relations strategy: For management, the decision involves whether the
organization will work with unions or develop or maintain nonunion operations. This
decision is influenced by outside forces such as public opinion and competition. For
unions, the decision involves whether to fight changes in how unions relate to the
organization or accept new kinds of labor-management relationships.
Negotiating contracts: Contract negotiations in a union setting involve decisions about pay
structure, job security, work rules, workplace safety, and many other issues. These decisions
affect workers and the employers situation for the term of the contract.
Administering contracts: These decisions involve day-to-day activities in which union members
and the organizations managers may have disagreements. Issues include complaints of work
rules being violated or workers being treated unfairly in particular situations. A formal grievance
procedure is typically used to resolve these issues.
A. National and International Unions
1. Most union members belong to a national or international union.
2. Figure 14.1, 10 Largest Unions in the United States, shows the membership of the
10 largest national unions in the United States. Half of these have memberships of
over a million workers.
3. The members of a craft union all have a particular skill or occupation. Examples
include the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers for electricians and the
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America for carpenters.

4. Craft unions often are responsible for training their members through apprenticeships
and for supplying craft workers to employers.
5. Industrial unions consist of members who are linked by their work in a particular
industry. Examples include the United Steelworkers of America and the
Communication Workers of America.
6. Typically, an industrial union represents many different occupations. Membership in
the union is the result of working for a particular employer in the industry.
7. Whereas a craft union may restrict the number of, say, carpenters to maintain higher
wages, industrial unions try to organize as many employees in as wide a range as
8. Most national unions are affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and
Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). The AFL-CIO is not a labor
union but an association that seeks to advance the shared interests of its member
unions at the national level.
9. Approximately 72 national and international unions are affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
10. An important responsibility of the AFL-CIO is to represent labors interests in public
policy issues such as labor law, economic policy, and occupational safety and health.
B. Local Unions
Most national unions consist of multiple local units.
Membership in the local union depends on the type of union. For an industrial union, the local
may correspond to a single large facility or to a number of small facilities. In a craft union, the
local may cover a city or region.
Typically, the local union elects officers, such as president, vice president, and treasurer. The
officers may be responsible for contract negotiation or the local may form a bargaining
committee for that purpose.
When the union is engaged in bargaining, the national union provides help, including
background data about other settlements, technical advice, and the leadership of a representative
from the national office.
Individual members participate in local unions in various ways. Most of the workers contact is
with the union steward who is an employee elected by union members in the same department
to represent them in ensuring that the terms of the contract are enforced.
C. Trends in Union Membership


Union membership in the United States peaked in the 1950s, reaching over one-third of
employment. Since then, the share of employees who belong to unions has fallen. It now stands
at 14 percent of all employment and 9 percent of private-sector employment.
Figure 14.2, Union Membership Density Among U.S. Wage and Salary Workers, 1973-2000,
depicts the changes in union membership.
Union membership among government workers has held steady, with the decline occurring in the
private sector.
The decline in union membership has been attributed to several factors:
Change in the structure of the economy
Recent job growth among women and youth in the service sector where women are less likely to
desire to join unions and unions are more favored by middle-aged workers
Service industries have lower union representation than manufacturing
Much business growth has been in the South where workers are less likely to join unions
Management efforts against union organizing such as controlling costs and the development of
HR practices that increase employees commitment to their job and employer
Competition for scarce human resources can lead employers to offer much of what employees
traditionally sought through union membership
Government regulations can make unions seem less important
5. The role of unions in the new economy is not yet decided.
6. Figure 14.3, Union Membership Rates and Coverage in Selected Countries,
indicates the percentage of U.S. workers who belong to unions is lower than in many
7. Unless unions can help companies improve productivity or organize new production
facilities opened in lower-wage countries, union influence may decline in countries
where it is now strong.
D. Unions in Government
1. Union membership among government workers has remained strong.

2. Over one-third of government employees are union members and a larger share is covered
by collective bargaining agreements.
3. One reason for this strength is that government regulations and laws support the right of
government workers to organize. In 1962 Executive Order 10988 established collective
bargaining rights for federal employees. By the end of the 1960s, most states had passed
similar laws.
4. Union growth among government workers has occurred in the service industry and among
white-collar employees, two groups that have been viewed as difficult to organize.
5. Labor relations with government workers is different in some respects such as the right to
strike. Strikes are illegal for federal workers and for state workers in most states.
E. Impact of Unions on Company Performance
Organizations are concerned about whether union organizing will hurt their performance. In
particular, they are affected by unions impact on productivity, profits, and stock performance.
Researchers have studied the general relationship between unionization and these performance
Effects of unions on productivity include: Negative: Decrease in productivity resulting from
work rules and limitations on workloads and lost production due to strikes and work slowdowns;
Positive: Reduce turnover by giving employees a route to resolve conflicts and maintaining an
emphasis on pay systems based on seniority, which removes incentives for employees to
compete rather than cooperate.
Most studies have determined that union workers are more productive than nonunion workers.
Even if unions do raise productivity, a companys profits and stock performance may still suffer
if unions raise wage and benefits costs by more than the productivity gain.
Companies wishing to become more competitive must continually monitor their labor relations
III. Goals of Each Group
Resolving conflicts in a positive way is easiest when the parties involved understand each others
A. Goals of Management
1. Management goals involve making decisions that will increase the organizations profits.

2. When an employer has recognized a union, managements goals continue to emphasize
restraining costs and improving output.
B. Goals of Labor Unions
In general, labor unions have the goals of obtaining pay and working conditions that
satisfy their members and of giving members a voice in the decisions that affect them.
Traditionally, they obtain these by gaining power in numbers.
Union membership is related to better compensation, with union wages in the year
2000 being approximately 19% higher than for nonunion workers in similar jobs.
Union membership has an even greater effect on benefits packages. Total
compensation, including benefits, was 36% higher for union members in 2000.
Researchers have estimated that the total union effect on wages is about 10 percent.
Unions typically influence the way pay and promotions are determined. They try to
build group solidarity and avoid possible arbitrary treatment of employees. To do
this, unions focus on equal pay for equal work. Unions also try to have any pay
differences based on seniority, on the grounds this measure is more objective than
performance evaluations.
The survival and security of a union depends on its ability to ensure a regular flow of
new members and member dues to support the services it provides.
Unions typically place high priority on negotiating two contract provisions with an
employer that are critical to a unions security or viability:
a. Check off provisions the employer, on behalf of the union, automatically
deducts union dues from the employees paychecks
b. Union membership or contribution Closed shop: a person must be a union
member before being hired; under the National Labor Relation Act, closed shops
are illegal Union shop: a legal membership arrangement that requires an
employee to join the union within a certain amount of time (30 days) after
beginning employment Agency shop: requires the payment of union dues but
not union membership Maintenance of membership: rules that do not require
union membership but do require that employees who join the union remain
members for a certain period of time, such as the length of the contract.
C. Goals of Society
Senator Hatch made a statement, which implies that societys goal for unions is to ensure that
workers have a voice in how they are treated by their employers.

IV. Laws and Regulations Affecting Labor Relations
1. The laws and regulations pertaining to labor relations affect unions size and bargaining
power, so they significantly affect the degree to which unions, management, and society
achieve their goals.
2. These legal requirements set limits on union structure and administration and the ways
in which unions and management interact.
A. National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
One example of labor laws influence is the 1935 passage of the Wagner Act also
known as the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This law actively supported
collective bargaining. After Congress passed this act, union membership in the U.S.
nearly tripled from 3 million in 1933 to 8.8 million (19.2% of employment) in 1939.
Section 7 of the NLRA sets out the rights of employees, including the right to selforganization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively
through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted
activities for the purpose of collective bargaining. Employees also have the right to
refrain from these activities, unless union membership is a condition of employment.
The following activities are among those protected under the NLRA:
a. Union organizing
b. Joining a union, whether recognized by the employer or not
c. Going out on strike to secure better working conditions
d. Refraining from activity on behalf of the union
Most employees in the private sector are covered by the NLRA. Table 14.1 identifies
certain exclusions, including supervisors, independent contractors, agricultural
workers, and government employees.
In Section 8(a), the NLRA prohibits certain activities by employers as unfair labor
practices: Employers may not interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in
exercising their rights to join or assist a labor organization or to refrain from such
activities; Employers may not dominate or interfere with the formation or activities of
a labor union; They may not discriminate in any aspect of employment that attempts
to encourage or discourage union activity, nor may they discriminate against
employees for providing testimony related to enforcement of the NLRA; Employers
may not refuse to bargain collectively with a labor organization that has standing
under the act.

When employers or unions violate the NLRA, remedies may include ordering that
unfair labor practices stop and that employers rehire workers, with or without back
The NLRA is not a criminal law and violators may not be assigned punitive damages.
B. Laws Amending the NLRA
With the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Landrum-Griffin Act of 1959, Congress
established some restrictions on union practices deemed unfair to employers and
union members.
Under the Taft-Hartley Act, unions may not restrain employers through such actions
as the following:
a. Mass picketing in such numbers that nonstriking employees cannot physically
enter the workplace
b. Engaging in violent acts in connection with a strike
c. Threatening employees with physical injury or job loss if they do no support union
d. During contract negotiations, insisting on illegal provisions, provisions the
employer may hire only workers who are union members or satisfactory to the
union, or working conditions to be determined by a group to which the employer
does not belong
e. Terminating an existing contract and striking for a new one without notifying the
employer, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, and the state mediation
service, if one exists
The Taft-Hartley Act also allows the states to pass so called right-to-work laws,
which make union shops, maintenance of membership, and agency shops illegal.
Figure 14.4, States with Right-to-Work Laws, indicates which states currently have
such laws in effect.
The Landrum-Griffin Act regulates unions activities with regard to their members,
including financial disclosure and the conduct of elections. This law establishes and
protects the rights of union members. These include the right to nominate candidates
for union office, participate in union meetings and secret ballot elections, and examine
unions financial records.
C. National Labor Relations Board

1. Enforcement of the NLRA rests with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
2. The NLRB is a federal agency that consists of a five-member board, the general
counsel, and 33 regional offices. Its enforcement actions are limited to companies
who have an impact on interstate commerce, but actually it extends to all but purely
local businesses.
3. The NLRB has two major functions: to conduct and certify representation elections
and to prevent unfair labor practices. It does not initiate either of these actions but
respond to requests for action.
4. Representation Elections: The NLRB is responsible for determining the
appropriate bargaining unit and the employees who are eligible to participate in
organizing activities.
5. Prevention of Unfair Labor Practices: The handling of complaints regarding
unfair labor practices begins when someone files a charge. The deadline for filing a
charge is six months after the alleged unfair practice. All parties must be served with
a copy of the charge. The charge is investigated by a regional office. If, after the
investigation, the NLRB finds the charge has merit and issues a complaint, two
actions are possible: the NLRB may defer to a grievance procedure agreed on by the
employer and the union or a hearing may be held before an administrative law judge.
6. The NLRB has the authority to issue cease-and-desist orders to halt unfair labor
practices. It can order the employer to reinstate workers, with or without back pay.
The NLRB can also set aside the results of an election if it believes either the union
or the employer has created an atmosphere or confusion or fear of reprisals.
V. Union Organizing
1. Unions begin their involvement with an organizations employees by conducting an
organizing campaign.
2. To meet its objectives, a union needs to convince a majority of workers that they should
receive better pay or other employment conditions and that the union will help them
achieve these. The employers objectives will depend on its strategy.
A. The Process of Organizing
1. The organizing process begins with authorization cards. Figure 14.5, Authorization
Card, provides an example of such an instrument.
2. For the organization process to continue, at least 30% of the employees must sign an
authorization card.
3. Recognition of a union can occur in two ways:



For a consent election, the employer and the union seeking representation arrive
at an agreement stating the time and place of the election, the choices included on
the ballot, and a way to determine who is eligible to vote.


For a stipulation election, the parties cannot agree on all of these terms, so the
NLRB dictates the time and place, ballot choices, and the method of determining

4. Conduct that may lead to an election result being set aside include: (1) threats of loss
of jobs or benefits by an employer or union to influence votes or organizing activities,
(2) a grant of benefits or a promise of benefits as a means of influencing votes or
organizing activities, (3) campaign speeches by management or union representatives
to assembled groups of employees on company time less than 24 hours before an
election, and (4) the actual use of physical force or violence to influence votes or
organizing activities.
5. Once the NLRB has certified a union as the exclusive representative of a group of
employees, it will not permit additional elections for one year. Also, after negotiations
of a contract has occurred, an election cannot be held for the time of the contract
period or for three years, whichever comes first.
B. Management Strategies
1. Sometimes an employer will recognize a union after a majority of employees have
signed authorization cards. More often, there is a hotly contested election campaign.
2. Employers use a variety of methods to oppose unions in organizing campaigns. These
efforts range from hiring consultants to distributing leaflets and letters, as well as
presenting the companys viewpoint at meetings of employees. However, some
employers actions go beyond what the law permits.
3.Supervisors must be trained in the legal principles of unionization. Table 14.2 explores
what supervisors need to do before and during a union organizing attempt.
C. Union Strategies
1. The traditional union organizing strategy has been for organizers to call or visit
employees at home, when possible, to talk about issues like pay and job security. For
todays newer type workforce, unions have been learning new tactics.
2. Alternatives to traditional union organizing strategies include: (1) offering workers
associate union membership this is not linked to an employees workplace and
does not provide representation in collective bargaining, (2) corporate campaigns
activities aimed at bringing public, financial or political pressure on employers during
union organization and contract negotiation, (3) avoidance of elections in favor of

using strikes and negative publicity to pressure corporations to accept a union, and (4)
negotiation of employer neutrality and card-check provisions into a contract under a
neutrality provision, the employer pledges not to oppose organizing attempts
elsewhere in the company and a card-check provision is an agreement that if a certain
percentage of employees sign an authorization card, the employer will recognize their
union representation.
D. Decertifying a Union
The Taft-Hartley Act expanded union members rights to be represented by leaders of their own
choosing so that it includes the right to vote out an existing union. This action is called
decertifying the union.
Decertification follows the same process as a representation election and may not take place
when a contract is in effect.
VI. Collective Bargaining

In collective bargaining a union negotiates on behalf of its members with management

representatives to arrive at a contract defining conditions of employment for the term of
the contract and to resolve differences in the way they interpret the contract.


Typical contracts include provisions for pay, benefits, work rules, and resolution of
workers grievances. Table 14.3 shows typical provisions negotiated in collective


Collective bargaining differs from one situation to another in terms of bargaining

structure, that is, the range of employees and employers covered by the contract.


The majority of contract negotiations take place between unions and employers that have
been through the process before.
A. Bargaining Over New Contracts
1. The outcome of contract negotiations can have important consequences for labor
costs, productivity, and the organizations ability to compete. Unions and
management need to prepare carefully for collective bargaining.
2. Different situations and goals call for different approaches to bargaining, such as the
following alternatives proposed by Richard Walton and Robert Mckersie:
a. Distributive bargaining divides an economic pie between two sides
b. Integrative bargaining looks for win-win solutions or outcomes in which both
sides benefit

c. Attitudinal structuring focuses on establishing a relationship of trust
d. Intraorganizational bargaining addresses conflicts within union or management
groups or objectives
3. Negotiations go through various stages such as:
a. Proposals are presented
b. Each side makes a series of decisions
c. Pressures for an agreement increases
B. When Bargaining Breaks Down
The intended outcome of collective bargaining is a contract with terms acceptable to both parties.
2. When bargaining breaks down, the union may strike or the parties may bring in
outside help to resolve their differences.
3. Strikes: A strike is a collective decision of the union members not to work for the
period of the strike. They are typically accompanied by picketing in which the union
stations members near the worksite with signs indicating that the union is striking.
4. The vast majority of labor-management negotiations do not result in a strike. Figure
14.6, Strikes Involving 1,000 or More Workers, indicates that the number of
strikes has plunged since the 1950s. The percentage of total working time lost to
strikes in 2000 was 0.06 percent.
5. A primary reason strikes are rare is that a strike is seldom in the best interests of
either party.
6. Alternatives to Strikes: Because strikes are so costly and risky, unions and
management generally prefer other methods for resolving conflicts. Three of the
most common alternatives are mediation (least formal and most widely used a
mediator hears both sides and facilitates the process - the mediator has no formal
authority to dictate a resolution), fact finder (most often used with governmental
bodies reports on the reasons for the dispute, the views and arguments of both sides,
and sometimes recommends a settlement, which the parties may decline), and
arbitration (an arbitrator or arbitration board determines a settlement that is binding,
meaning the parties have to accept it).
VII. Contract Administration

1. Other union-management activities occur far more often than the labor agreement
process. For instance, contract administration goes on day after day, year after year,
while contract negotiation typically occurs only about every three years.
2. Contract administration includes carrying out the terms of the agreement and resolving
conflicts over interpretation or violation of the agreement. Under a labor contract, the
process for resolving conflicts is called a grievance procedure. A grievance procedure
may be started by an employee or discharged employee who believes the employer
violated the contract or by a union representative on behalf of a group of workers or
union representatives.
3. Figure 14.7, Steps in an Employee-Initiated Grievance Procedure, indicates the
typical steps of a grievance procedure initiated by an employee.
4. The four steps of a grievance procedure include:
a. The employee talks to the supervisor about the problem
b. If no satisfaction is derived, the employee may involve the union steward in further
c. If the problem remains unsolved and there is no contract violation evident, the union
puts the grievance in writing and submits it to a line manager
d. The union steward meets with a management representative to try and resolve the
5. The majority of grievances are settled during the earlier steps of the process, which
reduces delays and avoid the cost of arbitration.
6. From the employees viewpoint, the grievance procedure is an important means of
getting fair treatment in the workplace. Under the NLRA, the union has a duty of fair
representation, which means the union must give equal representation to all members of
the bargaining unit, whether or not they actually belong to the union.
7. According to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the majority of arbitration
cases involved discharge or other disciplinary actions. Other issues reaching arbitration
include subcontracting, the use of seniority in decisions about promotions, layoffs,
transfers, work assignments, scheduling, and the distribution and requirement of

VIII. Labor-Management Cooperation
The traditional understanding of union-management relations is that the two parties are
adversaries, meaning that each side is competing to win at the expense of the other.
Cooperation between labor and management typically includes: (1) employee involvement in
decision-making, (2) self-managing employee teams, (3) labor-management problem-solving
teams, (4) broadly defined jobs, and (5) sharing of financial gains and business information with
The use of certain teams has given rise to the issue of legality. Table 14.4 provides some
guidance when the use of teams might be illegal.
4. Employers can build cooperative relationships by the way they treat employees with
respect, fairness, and the knowledge that attracting and minimizing turnover are often in
the employers best interests.
Chapter Vocabulary
Labor Relations
Craft Union
Industrial Union
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Union Steward
Checkoff Provision
Closed Shop
Union Shop
Agency Shop
Maintenance of Membership
National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
Right-to-Work Laws
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)
Associate Union Membership
Collective Bargaining
Fact Finder
Grievance Procedure

Review and Discussion Questions

Why do employees join labor unions? Did you ever belong to a labor union? If so, do
you think the union membership benefited you? If not, do you think a union would have
benefits you? Why or why not?
Employees typically join unions to ensure that they will have fair representation in
disputes with management and to ensure they will have the opportunity for obtaining
better pay and working conditions. Dissatisfaction with wages, benefits, working
conditions, and supervisory methods may inspire employees to desire unionization at the
Student responses to the balance of the questions presented in Question 1 will be
contingent upon their own personal experiences and viewpoints.


Why do managers at most companies prefer that unions not represent their employees?
Can unions provide benefits to an employer? Explain.
Some managers would prefer for their organizations not to unionize because they are
leery of acquiring any organizational benefit from it. They may perceive the necessary
dealings with unions, such as contract negotiations, as being time consuming without
benefit. Additionally, managers may find less flexibility, higher wage and benefit costs,
and a negative impact on stock price and profitability.
On the other hand, having a unionized operation can offer the employer a better-satisfied
group of employees. Unions can have positive effects on productivity through reduced
turnover and the need for less competition among the individual employees.


How has union membership in the United States changed over the past few decades?
How does union membership in the United States compare with union membership in
other countries? How might these patterns in union membership affect the HR decisions
of an international company?
Since 1950, union membership has consistently declined as a percentage of employment
to approximately 14 percent of all employment. The percentage of U.S. workers who
belong to unions is lower than in many countries. More dramatic is the difference in
coverage the percentage of employees whose terms and conditions of employment
are governed by a union contract, whether or not the employees are technically union
members. The HR department of an international company would have to be aware of
the union contract and abide by its provisions. In other words, since these international
organizations would experience more exposure to unions, they will have to be more in
tune with how the union operates.


What legal responsibilities do employers have regarding unions? What are the legal
requirements affecting unions?
Employers may not interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in exercising their rights
to join or assist a labor organization or to refrain from such activities. They may not
dominate or interfere with the formation or activities of a labor union. Employers may
not discriminate in any aspect of employment that attempts to encourage or discourage
union activity, nor may they discriminate against employees for providing testimony
related to enforcement of the NLRA. Employers may not refuse to bargain collectively
with a labor organization that has standing under the NLRA.
The legal requirements affecting unions set limits on union structure and administration
as well as the ways in which unions and management interact. The National Labor
Relations Act (NLRA) supports the use of collective bargaining and sets out the rights of
employees including the right to organize, join a union, and go on strike. The NLRA
prohibits unfair labor practices by employers including interfering with efforts to form a
labor union and discrimination against employees who engage in union activities. The
Taft-Hartley Act and the Landrum-Griffin Act establish restrictions on union practices
that restrain workers such as preventing employees from working during a strike or
determining whom an employer may hire. The Taft-Hartley Act also permits state rightto-work laws.


Suppose you are the HR manager for a chain of clothing stores. You learn that union
representatives have been encouraging the stores employees to sign authorization cards.
What events can follow in this process of organizing? Suggest some ways that you might
respond in your role as HR manger.
For the organizing process to continue, at least 30% of the employees will have to sign
authorization cards. Next, the union organizers would set up for an election. Recognition
of a union can occur in two ways either by consent election or stipulation election.
Ways in which management may discourage the organizing process include hiring
consultants or distributing leaflets and letters regarding managements views of unions
that are supported by factual information.


If the parties negotiating a labor contract are unable to reach an agreement, what actions
can resolve the situation?
Possible responses could include mediation, enlisting the services of a fact finder, or
utilizing arbitration methodology.


Why are strikes uncommon? Under what conditions might management choose to accept
a strike?
Strikes have become rare because they have come to be seen as seldom being in the best
interests of either party. Management may choose to accept a strike when all other
avenues, such as mediation or arbitration, have failed to resolve the labor-management


What are the usual steps in a grievance procedure? What are the advantages of resolving
a grievance in the first step? What skills would a supervisor need so grievances can be
resolved in the first step?
There are four possible steps in a grievance procedure. These steps include: (1) the
employee talks to the supervisor about the problem, (2) if no satisfaction is derived in
step 1, the employee may involve the union steward in further discussion, (3) if the
problem still remains unsolved and there is no evident contract violation, the union puts
the grievance in writing and submits it to a line manager, and (4) the union steward meets
with a management representative to try and resolve the problem.
The advantages to resolving a grievance in the first step include a reduction in delays and
an avoidance of arbitration costs. A supervisor should be in tune with his subordinates
and be aware of the provisions in the union contract. This awareness can assist the
supervisor with a speedy resolution (or even prevention) of problems.


The Best Practices box on page xxxx gives an example of union-management

cooperation at Outokumpu American Brass. What does the company gain from this
effort? What do workers gain? Do you think the cooperative effort eliminates the
unions role at Outokumpu American Brass? Explain.
The company gains a group of empowered employees with strong morale and dedication.
This results in increased profits. The workers gain dignity and respect not only for
themselves, but for the organization as well. They feel empowered and feel like they do
make a significant difference to the organization.
Student opinions will vary regarding whether or not the cooperative effort eliminates the
unions role.


What are the legal restrictions on labor-management cooperation?

The legal restrictions on labor-management cooperation involves adherence to legal
guidelines for formation and utilization of teams and forbids domination or interference
with labor organizations by the employer. The legal requirements for employee
empowerment procedures must be met.

Business Week Case: A World of Sweatshops
Case Summary:
This case study explores the topic of sweatshops and what can be done to improve the plight of
those working in them.

What would you expect to happen if the workers in this case were able to join unions?
Individual student response will vary contingent upon their personal points of view.
Suggested responses may include: a significant change in working conditions, an
increase in pay, and the offering of benefits.


What might happen to a shoe company like Reebok if it begins to sell union-made shoes?
Possible responses may include: increased manufacturing costs leading to decreased
product profits or on the other hand, better manufactured products that are more worthy
of selling at higher prices thus leading to increased product profits.


Would you be willing to pay more for shoes made under better working conditions?
The student responses provided to this question will vary.

End of Chapter Case:

Case Summary: Verizon Strikes Out Against Unions
This case scenario examines how organizations address the issues surrounding labor

The traditional image of a union member is a male blue-collar worker in a factory. From
the CWA unions point of view, what might be challenges of convincing Verizons hightech workers that they should join a union? Would some of those challenges be different
for a call center employee in contrast to a software engineer?
CWAs union may be challenged by providing proof to the high-tech employees exactly
how being in the union would benefit them. It may burden CWA to identify what they
have to offer, now and in the future, that is better than what they currently have. Also,
CWA has to deal with assisting the high-tech workers in overcoming the traditional image
of a union worker. While some of the challenges would differ due to the fact that no two

situations are exactly the same, many of the challenges for a call center employee versus
a software engineer would be the same.

From Verizons perspective, why do you think the company was willing to offer a
contract with large wage increases in place of expanding union representation? What
would be some costs and benefits of this labor relations strategy?
Verizon possibly offered large wage increases in place of expanding union representation
in order to maintain a higher level of management influence and control within the
organization. The costs incurred by this strategy would certainly be the monies spent in
the large increases in the wages. The benefits would be less union influence and control
while maintaining greater management influence.


How might the Communication Workers of America and Verizon have resolved their
differences without a strike? Do you think the results would have been better for the
company? For the employees? Was a strike necessary?
The two entities could have utilized mediation, fact finders, or arbitration in an attempt to
resolve the issues. Student opinions on who would have fared better will vary.