Labor and Collective Bargaining Federal Term Paper

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As a result, financial planners need to advise clients who receive these payments and make large cash investments to do so as soon as possible. The study concluded that dollar-cost averaging would be unlikely to topple the superior results of lump-sum investing at this time (Williams and Bacon).

Profit-sharing allows employees to earn bonuses according to company performance (GoSmallBiz 2008). A certain percentage is set aside by the firm and paid to the employees if certain annual profit goals are met or exceeded. Bonuses are paid in cash or as a contribution to the retirement fund, or else partly in cash and partly as contribution to the retirement fund. The advantage for employees is that they share in the company's profits. The disadvantage is that they receive the share even if their performance does not improve or they do not receive it even if their performance improves (GoSmallBiz 2008).

A lump-sum incentive pay is a one-time cash payment equal to a certain percentage of an employee's base wage (GoSmallBiz 2008). If there is a 4% annual increase, for example, the company may give the employee a one-time cash payment equal to 5% of his or her annual pay. The main advantage for the company is that lump sum does not accumulate or increase, as it is one-time. The advantage to the employee is receiving a large amount, which they can invest right away, instead of small amounts spread out through the year (GoSmallBiz).

Negotiating Reduced Health Insurance Care Costs While Maintaining Good Health Care Benefits - Better quality health care costs do not have to be high. They vary according to the type of medical or hospital procedure, the location of the facility and the patient's residence (Carlson 2008). Suggested ways of reducing these costs while raising one's health level were taking good care of oneself; practicing self-examination and submitting to appropriate medical check-ups; becoming and remaining aware of health risks of certain lifestyles; awareness of one's medical coverage; taking an active role in health care decision-making; acquiring professional medical knowledge about prescribed medications and medical tests; avoidance of hospitalization and emergency rooms whenever possible; check hospital and doctor's bills carefully for errors; and avoid defensive medicine. Defensive medicine consists of tests and services aimed at protecting physicians from possible malpractice court suits (Carlson).

Strategies suggested to reduce health care costs were employer contribution methods, competition among health management organizations, managed care and a State mental health parity mandate (Stanton 2002). Current policymakers continue to look for ways to decrease these costs and their current growth levels without reducing access to necessary health care services or unduly burdening providers. These policymakers rethink past strategies or explore new ways, which seem workable. Before deciding, they acquire insights by conducting studies on projected or expected outcomes. These insights investigate strategies, which affect costs and realize savings. A professionally funded research found that certain approaches save money while the rest have mixed results. Employers who contribute to health plans and offer employees to take in three or more health plans can save on premiums. Competition among health management organizations leads to lower premiums. Managed mental health or substance abuse care can also effect lower costs. Flexible spending accounts, cost-sharing and hospital mergers can also cut down on health costs (Stanton).

Public and Private-Sector Subcontract Work Grievances

Subcontracting is a contract, which assigns some of the obligations of a prior contract to another party (the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 2006). A study on four industrial organizations identified the most frequent causes or ground of grievances as pay at 17%, working conditions at 16%, performance and permanent job assignments at 16%, discipline at 14%, benefits at 14%, management rights at 7% and discrimination at 6% (Calvasina 2008). When no grievance procedures exist, employees may press grievances as guaranteed by Section 9 of the Taft-Hartley Act (Calvasina).

The grievance procedure consists of four steps (Calvasina 2008). Step 1 consists of an employee reporting a violation of the contract to the union steward who helps him or her write the complaint or grievance. In Step 2, the union representative applies or creates precedents. In Step 3, the grievance is settled. The union is represented by its local negotiating committee while management is represented by its IR or plant manager. And Step 4 consists of arbitration, starting with the choice of a permanent arbitrator. A study found that an average grievance was settled between 10 and 14 days. Settlement may take longer if the bargaining units are large (Calvasina).

A study on the public or government sector revealed that filing more than one grievance in a single year received lower performance ratings, whether these won or lost (Calvasina 2008). Another study on public-sector management and union representatives found that performance and discipline were factors in higher grievance rates. Managers perceived the effectiveness of discipline as greater or related to non-union organizations. Discipline for them required either a very permissive or restrictive rules, high monitoring costs and huge pressure for performance. Another study on 10 paper mills in the private sector, consisting of 9 unionized and one non-unionized companies, showed that higher grievance rates related with lower plant productivity. These companies pursued more competitive goals and thus took a more narrow approach. Seniority problems were less frequent while disciplinary issues were more frequent. Private or public-sector organizations, which held cooperative approaches, tended to settle the issue or dispute in earlier steps of the procedure. This often led to positive and conciliatory responses from both or among the involved parties. On the issue of subcontracting, a public or government-sector organization must subject the contract to public scrutiny, unlike in the case of a private-sector organization (Calvasina).

Union Protects the Interests of Its Members - International human rights and labor rights only conditionally guarantee the worker's right to full freedom to form or join unions and to strike (Human Rights Watch 2006). Yet among human rights documents, only the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights carries a clause on the right to strike. Even then, it is to be exercises "in conformity with the laws" of the given country. A worker's freedom of association is not an abstraction. It has meaning and usefulness only in the real world of clashing interests among workers, employers, the government and other social forces. The formation of a union is not a static or episodic natural activity. It is drawn from the relationship between the worker and the employer. The worker's exercise of his economic strength to protect his interest is a natural, normal and accepted right, which management is aware of and must respect. That awareness and respect will lead both parties to a compromise and avert a strike or another suitable action on the part of the worker or union (Human Rights Watch).

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states and recognizes the right of a worker to form and join trade unions - or to stage a strike - for the protection of his interests (Human Rights Watch 2006). The European Union's Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers also recognizes that right "to resort to collective action in the event of a conflict of interests." Collective action includes the right to strike. A union, which wants to terminate contract negotiations with the employer, whom it deems will be financially more capable in 18 months, can opt to negotiate for a four-year contract in order to protect its interests. One option is to stage a strike. The Labor Principle of the North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation, the United States and its two NAFTA partners are committed to respect workers' right to strike. They themselves define this right as "the protection of... The workers... In order to defend their collective interests" without further qualification. In some regions, this right is not binding. Yet it expresses the political will of the countries and reflect this will at the international level as a recognition of respect for workers' rights (Human Rights Watch).

Today, sympathy strikes are acknowledged as lawful in some countries and occurring more frequently as businesses concentrate as a consequence of globalization and the decentralization of work centers (Human Rights Watch 2006). The Committee of Experts felt that a general prohibition of sympathy strikes could develop or create abuse. It agreed that workers could stage sympathy strikes as long as the previous or initial strike was not unlawful (Human Rights Watch).

Unionized and Non-Unionized Grievance Procedures - Grievance procedure in unionized organizations consists of 5 steps (Anonymous 2008). In Step 1, the complaining employee, the steward and supervisor get together for an informal resolution. If the conflict is not resolved, a written grievance is made as Step 2. The written complaint states the grievance, when and where it happened, who were involved and why the grievance was being filed. Step 3 consists of a formal resolution by the steward and the head of the department. Step 4 is the formal resolution…[continue]

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