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Why and How Unions Are Organized

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1 Why and How Unions Are Organized
Chapter 5 Why and How Unions Are Organized Copyright © 2009 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

2 Why Unions Are Formed Work and Job Conditions Explanation
Alienation Theory—the influence of machinery Loss of personal contact with labor and products produced Loss of personal involvement in the work Pace of work estranging workers from each other Scarcity Consciousness Theory—jobs are difficult to obtain and retain Employees believe unions protect jobs by: Negotiating work rules and apprenticeship programs. Bargaining seniority and layoff provisions. Agreeing to grievance procedures. Lobbying for legislation to protect worker rights and jobs. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

3 Why Unions Are Formed (cont’d)
Work and Job Conditions Explanation (cont’d) Wheeler Model of Union Formation First stage: individual worker’s readiness to take aggressive action to express anger at the employer that results from: Fear of deprivation of current work benefits. Frustration with not being heard as an individual. Rational calculation that the benefits of unionization outweigh its costs. Second stage: individual workers form a group and decide to take collective action. Saliency: the workers’ belief that the union can facilitate resolution of their problems. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

4 Wheeler Model of Union Formation
Second Stage: Decision to take collective action First Stage: Readiness to take action Decision not to unionize Love (Group cohesion) Fear of deprivation Fear of punishment Hope (Belief in unions) Frustration of not being heard Lack of belief in unions Saliency (Resolution) Rational calculation Withdrawal and/or revenge © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

5 Why Unions Are Formed (cont’d)
Employee Backgrounds and Needs Previous experience as a union member generally results in a favorable attitude towards unions. Union member parents’ attitudes and family experiences strongly influence positive union attitudes. Unions help satisfy the interrelated social needs of members for identity, self-esteem, and affiliation. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

6 Exhibit 5.1 Influences on Employees on Whether to Vote For or Against a Union
© 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

7 The Union’s Challenge of Organizing the Diverse Workforce
The Changed Workforce Temporary (contingent) employees Permanent part-time employees Independent contractors Leased workers Minorities (racial and ethnic) Immigrant (legal and illegal) workers Older workers Higher-skilled workers © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

8 The Union’s Challenge of Organizing the Diverse Workforce
A Changing Workplace Declines in unions’ stronghold industries Increases in service industries workers Increases in industries with skilled workers Outsourcing Globalization © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

9 Organizing Professional Employees
Arguments Against the organization of professionals: Unionization represents a rejection of professional values. For the organization of professionals: Unionization helps achieve and maintain professional values. Issues in Collective Bargaining: Professional standards Participation in policy making Regulation of professional work Training and professional development Commitment of organizational resources to professional goals Criteria for personnel decisions regarding professionals © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

10 Activities of Union in Organizing Employees
Union Actions Don’t initiate organizing; rather it responds to employees’ request for assistance in organizing. Emphasize the benefits of collective bargaining and grievance procedures to relieve employee dissatisfaction and fears. Roles of Union Organizers Educator: union benefits/protections, labor traditions Persuader: encourage voting for unionization Supporter: support workers’ collective actions © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

11 Exhibit 5.3 Union Strategy and Courses of Action to Achieve Employee Goals and Resolve Job-Related Concerns Examples of Work-Related Problems and Employee Concerns Actions by Unions to Encourage Employees to Join Union Relations between employees and management are poor. Union will represent the interests of employees to management. Employees do not trust their employer’s promises. Union will negotiate a contract requiring management to abide by its agreements. Employees prefer to deal with management as a group. Union provides an opportunity for individual employees to deal as a group with the employer. Employees want to have more influence in workplace decisions. Union provides a mechanism for influence by collective bargaining and administering the agreement. Employees feel that productivity improvement would be more effective if employees had more say in how programs are run. Union provides a mechanism in which employees can provide input into those issues that affect the workplace. Employees question the effectiveness of the company’s system for resolving employee problems and grievances. Unions typically negotiate a grievance procedure that provides representation of employees at each step and hearings before an outside, neutral arbitrator. SOURCE: Richard B. Freeman and Joel Rogers, Worker Representation and Participation Survey, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton Survey Research Associates, 1994. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

12 2. Person-to-person contact, house calls, and small group meetings
Exhibit 5.4 Components of ‘‘Rank-and-File Intensive Strategy’’ That Are Associated with Higher Union Win Rates 1. Use of representative committees to be more in touch with concerns of the bargaining unit as a whole, to have better access to employees at the workplace and to demonstrate to the employees that the union Is a democratic and inclusive organization 2. Person-to-person contact, house calls, and small group meetings 3. Conducting union bargaining surveys, selection of the bargaining committee, and working with rank and file to develop proposals before election 4. Focus on issues such as dignity, justice, discrimination, fairness, or service quality 5. Serious commitment of staff and financial resources to organizing, involvement of the international in local campaigns, and training, recruitment, and effective utilization of rank and file volunteers from already organized bargaining units 6. Use of solidarity days (designated days to wear union buttons, hats, T-shirts, arm bands, etc.) SOURCE: Kate Bronfenbrenner, ‘‘The Role of Union Strategies in NLRB Elections,’’ Industrial and Labor Relations Review 50 (January 1997), pp. 195–211; Kate Bronfenbrenner and Tom Juravich, ‘‘It Takes More Than House Calls: Organizing to Win with a Comprehensive Union-Building Strategy,’’ Organizing to Win, eds. Kate Bronfenbrenner, et al. (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1999), pp. 33–34. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

13 Activities of Company in Union Organizing
Advantages of the Company: Has full access to its employees. Can offer possibility of improvement without additional cost of unionization for employees. Can benefit from employees’ fear of change. Lengthy time between successful organization and issuance of the bargaining order. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

14 Activities of Company in Union Organizing (cont’d)
Effective Campaign Tactics Hiring labor lawyers and management consultants Spreading rumors about potential job losses, plant or store closings Asking for a “second chance” Ineffective Campaign Tactics Intentionally delaying the representation election Shifting work and jobs to other facilities Testing applicants to identify union sympathizers © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

15 Activities of Company in Union Organizing (cont’d)
Employer Effects on Elections Influencing the composition of the bargaining unit Setting the date for the election Illegal Campaign Tactics (Unfair Labor Practices) Making captive audience speeches after hours Illegally discharging union supporters and activists Threatening employees about the consequences of unionization © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

16 Methods for Organizing Unions
Voluntary Recognition The employer pledges to remain neutral and not to oppose or interfere with the organization campaign. The employer agrees to a “card check” for union majority status, allowing the union to forego the NLRB representation election process. Increasing the Success of Organizing Drives Signing neutrality agreements Providing lists of employees to the union Agreeing to place time limits on the organizing campaigns © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

17 Exhibit 5.5 Basic Union Representation Procedures
Interest 1. Internal: Employees contact union organizer 2. External: Union organizer contacts employees Ways for union to obtain recognition (1) Voluntary Recognition (2) NLRB Directive (Gissel Doctrine) (3) Secret-Ballot Election Consent Election Contested Election Union Wins Union Loses Union Certified 12 Month Election Bar Union Obligation: Duty to bargain with company in good faith and represent all bargaining unit employees fairly Company Obligation: Duty to bargain with union in good faith and recognize union as the exclusive bargaining representative for all bargaining unit employees © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

18 Exhibit 5.5 Basic Union Representation Procedures
© 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

19 Methods for Organizing Unions (cont’d)
NLRB Directive NLRB directs the employer to recognize the union because the employer’s unfair labor practices tainted the organizing campaign and/or election processes. Bases for Issuing Gissel Bargaining Orders: A fair, impartial election is not possible due to the employer’s ULPs. Authorization card wording is clear and unambiguous. Employees’ signatures were voluntarily obtained. A majority of bargaining unit employees signed authorization cards. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

20 Exhibit 5.6 Example of a Union Authorization Card
© 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

21 NLRB Secret Ballot Election Process
Pre-NLRB-Election Union Campaign Activities Contacting employees Determining interest Setting up and organizing committee Building interest by soliciting authorization cards Costs versus Returns for Organizing Extra compensation gained by bargaining Additional dues and fees paid by new members Enhanced political influence Social benefits and satisfaction of membership © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

22 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
Filing a Petition for Election Employer refuses union’s recognition request. Employer can petition for an election once the union seeks recognition. Union files an election petition with the NLRB Union holds signed authorization cards to show substantial employee support (at least 30%) for the union. NLRB determines its jurisdiction and the union petition’s validity. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

23 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
Filing a Petition for Election (cont’d) NLRB, employer, and union discuss appropriate bargaining unit composition, voter eligibility, ballot, and the date, time, and place for election. Consent election: both sides agree on all election issues. Contested election: the NLRB holds a hearing to resolve election issue differences between the two parties. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

24 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
Determining the Appropriate Bargaining Unit Basis for NLRB decision is “community of interest” Interest of the employees Commonality of wages, working conditions, training, and skills Prior history of collective bargaining Transfers of employees among facilities Geography and physical proximity of the workplaces Employer’s administrative or territorial divisions Degree of separation (distinctiveness) or integration (interrelatedness) of the employees’ work © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

25 NLRB Election Process…cont’d
Determining the Appropriate Bargaining Unit Restrictions on “community of interest” Nonprofessional and professional employees must be in placed in separate bargaining units. Craft units can elect to be placed in a separate bargaining unit (Globe election). Plant guards must be in a separate bargaining unit. Supervisors and members of management are excluded. Agricultural workers, most public employees, and independent contractors (not covered by the LMRA) are excluded from the bargaining unit. Confidential employees and family members of owners are excluded. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

26 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
Bargaining Units in the Health Industry Registered nurses Physicians Other professional employees Technical employees Skilled maintenance employees Business office clericals Guards Other nonprofessional employees © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

27 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
Eligibility to Vote in the Election Requires: Employment in a bargaining unit job Employment during the eligibility period Employment on the date of the election If on strike, striking employee must be within 12 months of the beginning of an economic strike © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

28 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
Untimely Petitions Are Void If: A representation election was held within the previous 12 months. Employees are already in a certified union and covered by a contract. Contract Bar Doctrine A valid multi-year contract protects the union by barring representation elections for up to three years. Excelsior Rule An employer must provide the NLRB regional director with the names and addresses of eligible voters within 7 days of a consent or directed election order. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

29 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
Factors Affecting Election Outcomes: High (90%) voter turnout Length of time before election occurs Longer times worsen the union’s chances of winning. Size of the election unit The union wins more in smaller units. The union supporting the organizing effort Negative “big labor” image hurts union’s chance of winning. Whether the supporting union is independent or affiliated with the AFL-CIO Independents do better. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

30 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
The Election Secret ballots with union or no union choice are used. If two unions are on the ballot, there are three choices: Union A, Union B, or Neither. Election held at workplace during working hours on a payday. Election outcome Simple majority decision: those who vote decide for everyone in the bargaining unit. Runoffs are held if necessary. If a union wins, the NLRB certifies it as the exclusive bargaining agent. Election conduct and votes can be challenged for 7 days. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

31 Exhibit 5.7 Examples of Secret Ballots for Union Representation Election
DO NOT SIGN THIS BALLOT. Fold and drop in ballot box. If you spoil this ballot return it to the Board Agent for a new one. DO NOT SIGN THIS BALLOT. Fold and drop in ballot box. If you spoil this ballot return it to the Board Agent for a new one. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

32 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
Trends in Union Representation Elections The yearly number of elections has fallen sharply. The union success rate (wins) has steadily declined. Unions are less likely to win NLRB-sponsored elections in bargaining units (over 100 employees). © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

33 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
After the Election One-third of newly elected unions fail to successfully secure an initial labor agreement. Factors favoring securing a first contract: Preexisting high wages in the firm The presence of other bargaining units in the firm Large election victories Active participation by international union representatives © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

34 NLRB Election Process…(cont’d)
Duties of the Exclusive Bargaining Agent To represent equitably and fairly all members of the bargaining unit. To bargain in good faith with the employer. Duties of the Employer To bargain in good faith with the elected union. To refuse to bargain with any other union or employee. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

35 Mandatory Secret Ballot Elections Versus Employee Free Choice Act
Employee Free Choice Act Provisions Required NLRB to certify a union if a majority of employees signed union authorization cards. Required, if collective bargaining fails, a first contract, subject to binding arbitration, to be in effect for a two-year period. Increased penalties for employer unfair labor practices committed during the union organizing campaign or the negotiation of the first contract. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

36 Exhibit 5.9 Most Common Arguments Made by Proponents of Union Recognition via Card Check and Proponents of Mandatory Secret Ballot Elections Proponents of Card Check Recognition Proponents of Mandatory Secret Ballots Card check recognition requires signatures from over 50 percent of bargaining unit employees (subject to verification by the NLRB). A secret ballot election is decided by a majority of workers voting. Casting a secret ballot is private and confidential. A secret ballot election is conducted by the NLRB. Under card check recognition, authorization cards are controlled by the union. During a secret ballot campaign, the employer has greater access to employees. Under card check recognition, employees may only hear the union’s point of view. Because of potential employer pressure or intimidation during a secret ballot election, some workers may feel coerced into voting against a union. Because of potential union pressure or intimidation, some workers may feel coerced into signing authorization cards. Employer objections can delay a secret ballot election. Most secret ballot elections are held within two months after a petition is filed. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

37 Exhibit 5.9 Most Common Arguments Made by Proponents of Union Recognition via Card Check and Proponents of Mandatory Secret Ballot Elections (cont’d) Proponents of Card Check Recognition Proponents of Mandatory Secret Ballots Allegations against a union for unfair labor practices can be addressed under existing law. Existing remedies do not deter employer violations of unfair labor practices. Allegations against an employer for unfair labor practices can be addressed under existing law. Existing remedies do not deter union violations of unfair labor practices. Card check recognition is less costly for both the union and employer. If only secret ballot elections were required, the NLRB would have to devote more resources to conducting elections. Unionization may cost workers union dues; higher union wages may result in fewer union jobs. Card check and neutrality agreements may lead to more cooperative labor–management relations. An employer may be pressured by a corporate campaign into accepting a card check or neutrality agreement. If an employer accepts a neutrality agreement, employees who do not want a union may hesitate to speak out. SOURCE: E: Gerald Mayer, ‘‘Labor Union Recognition Procedures: Use of Secret Ballots and Card Checks,’’ Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress, 2005 (http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/key workplace/237). © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

38 Conduct of Representation Election Campaigns and NLRB Policies
Totality of Conduct Doctrine NLRB considers isolated incidents within the entire context of conduct during a campaign in determining unfair labor practices. Campaigning parties cannot use forged documents. Captive Audience—24 hour rule Employers cannot make speeches to workers on company time within 24 hours of an election. Employers may not threaten reprisal or promise benefits during a campaign speech. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

39 Conduct of Campaigns and NLRB Policies
Polling or Questioning Employees Employers cannot ask employees about their union sentiments. Distribution of Union Literature and Solicitation by Employees on Company Property Literature distribution is permitted during nonworking times and in nonworking (non-customer) areas. Company confidential material cannot be distributed. Lechmere decision allows employers to ban non-employee organizers if there are other reasonable means of access to employees. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

40 Exhibit 5.10 Examples of Handbills Distributed During Representation Election Campaigns
© 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

41 Conduct of Campaigns and NLRB Policies
Showing Films during Election Campaigns Films may be used during campaigns. Use of An employer’s usage policy can ban all non-business use of but not solely union-related . The system was viewed as employer property that employees have no statutory right to use under Sec. 7, LMRA. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

42 Conduct of Campaigns and NLRB Policies
New Union Strategies Using the Internet to distribute organizing information. Salting: Employers hire organizers who then solicit for union membership as employees. Organizing an employer’s suppliers to overcome the effects of outsourcing. Creating videos explaining the union’s position. Holding public rallies and marches to draw attention to union causes. Funding more organizing efforts. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

43 Decertification Procedure
When a majority of the bargaining unit vote to remove the union’s certification as the unit’s exclusive representative. The support of 30% of the unit is required to petition the NLRB for a decertification election. Reasons for Decertification Fair treatment of employees by employers Poor job by unions of providing services to members Inability to gain an initial labor contract Hiring of replacement workers © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

44 Date of union certification
Exhibit 5.12 Examples of Objective Evidence* of Union’s Lack of Majority Status Unsolicited communications from employees expressing a desire to become unrepresented Any material change in the size or composition of the unit, such as a reduction in the number of employees Date of union certification Failure of the union to appoint a shop steward or committee Failure of the union to process grievances Failure of the union to actively represent employees on matters arising under the contract Failure of the union to hold meetings that could be attended by the employees Failure of the employees to attend union meetings Failure of a majority of employees to authorize a dues checkoff if the contract provides for one Whether the union has communicated a lack of interest regarding representation to either the company or the employees Whether employees have filed or attempted to file a decertification petition of their own *”Objective evidence” is defined as “reasonable grounds” to believe that an incumbent union no longer represents a majority of bargaining unit employees. SOURCE: Clyde Scott, Kim Hester, and Edwin Arnold, “Employer-Initiated Elections, 1968–1992,” Journal of Labor Research 18 (Spring 1997), p. 317. © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

45 Decertification Campaigns
Unlawful Activities by Employers Obtaining NLRB forms for employees interested in union decertification Providing services to employees who are interested in launching a decertification campaign Initiating discussions on how or whether to decertify the union Allowing supervisors or any other persons identified with management to promote the decertification process (e.g., publishing decertification instructions) © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

46 Key Terms Alienation theory Scarcity Consciousness Theory
Union instrumentality Consent election Directed elections Contract bar doctrine Totality of conduct doctrine Salting © 2008 Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.


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