Labor Relations Steps In Preparing For First Essay

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Labor Relations Steps in preparing for first round of bargaining with the union

In preparing for the first round of bargaining with the union would be to review the proceedings from previous negotiations with the company or other companies. In reviewing the minutes or notes available from previous negotiations, the managers of the company will be able to analyze the arguments being presented by the union to determine whether they were covered in previous negotiations or not. They will be able to review the minutes of past negotiations to find tactics, concessions, timings and gains and this can be a predictor of the upcoming union negotiations. This is the time when settlement agreements are reviewed and where written commitments were made, these are also analyzed to see how they proceeded. The managers will also be able to determine whether they have been able to keep their end of the bargain and see whether any actions the management had made would have impacted the previous agreements or settlements Wachter, 2007()

The second step would be to generate accurate data regarding wages and benefits paid out to union employees, and other important data such as labor costs, pensions, health insurance, vacation pay, company productivity rates in terms of sales revenues and profits, working hours, and company culture. This will enable the management to see the trends in wage rates over the last 5 to 10 years in order to analyze changes that have been made. The management will also be able to develop a strategy once they have looked at their previous and current wages and benefits, labor costs, and productivity levels Chen, Kacperczyk, & Ortiz-Molina, 2011.

Working hours including paid lunch, paid time off, overtime and premium hours and other unworked paid hours will help to determine benefits paid to employees. The management will be able to device an effective negotiation strategy with this data Wachter, 2007()

Means of resolving negotiation impasses

Impasses are critical challenges in union negotiations. They occur when the company and the union reach a deadlock and are unable to agree on critical matters. There are non-economic ways of resolving impasses. One is mediation. Mediation is the process whereby the parties involved in the negotiations hire a third party independent from both parties to help them negotiate. This can be a legal person, religious person or other mediation expert. The parties may also hire more than one mediator. The mediator helps the union and the company to effectively reach agreement but has no decision-making power. The mediator simply evaluates both sides of the arguments being presented by the parties and tries to persuade them. Mediation is effective because the presence of a middle person helps each party see the other party's point-of-view. It also eliminates emotional issues in the negotiations by bringing an impartial perspective dixon & martin, 2007.

Mediation also helps to determine conflicts of interest in the parties and to find ways to resolve these. On the downside, mediation is costly in terms of money and time. Often skilled mediators charge high fees and mediation takes a lot of time since the mediator has to sit with both parties separately before sitting them together to try to negotiate Pencavel, 2009()

The second non-economic way of resolving impasses is fact-finding. This involves hiring a person or group of people to analyze the facts present in the bargaining process in order to determine where a compromise can be potentially achieved. In a similar way to the mediator, the fact finder simply presents recommendations and not decisions. The parties involved in the negotiation are at their own will to accept the recommendations. However, fact finding has proven to be effective in resolving impasses because the process brings an influence by presenting recommendations from which bargaining can start or continue. It is also effective because it is often a quick process since fact-finders often present recommendations within 14 days of appointment Pencavel, 2009.

On the downside, the recommendations presented by the fact-finder are not binding thus the impasse can continue if both parties are not willing to compromise Dixon, 2010()

Advantages and disadvantages in using seniority to determine shift preference or overtime assignments

Seniority is determined by the amount of time that a person has served the company or organization. Often after long-term service, the person expects to have higher status, rank or preference over employees that have served for shorter periods of time. Seniority often drives preference in terms of promotions, salary, layoffs, shifts, overtime, and premium hours. The advantage of this is that it rewards employees who have stayed with the company longer. These employees often feel motivated when given these preferences. A second advantage of using seniority...


Someone may have stayed with the company for long but not improved their performance over the years. Therefore, giving this person preferential treatment could hurt the productivity of the company overall since the person may be given overtime hours but spend them doing little compared to other employees. A second disadvantages is that the employees may begin to slack knowing that because they are seniors, they will always get preferential treatment. Their productivity levels will decrease and thus lead to overall decrease in the company's productivity Dawkins, 2010.
Using seniority for preferential treatment may also limit performance and motivation in the company since hard working younger employees will feel left out and that they are not recognized for their hard work when seniority is used as the factor in determining shift preference and overtime assignments.

Impact of environmental legislation on business

The current environmental legislation requires all organizations to protect the environment and meet certain conditions and provisions that deal with environmental concerns. These include sustainable manufacturing and development and environmental protection through cleaning of fumes and discharges. Though companies are not required to be green, they have a part to play in ensuring they keep the environment safe and clean. The environmental laws require companies to plan a role in ensuring their activities do not harm the environment.

These laws have a positive impact on organized labor. This is because they ensure unions are able to lobby for favorable working conditions and for companies to find ways to make resources to be cheaper. This reduces the expenditure for companies and allows more to be spent on human resources. The downside for this as stated by Thomas (2004)

is that environmental laws require companies to make all resources cheaper including human resources, which may lead to cuts in wages and benefits of employees. These laws are favorable because they also emphasize the importance of good and safe working conditions, sustainable development and fair treatment of employees.

One of the current environmental proposals is for the World Trade Organization to incorporate environmental laws into their laws. This is because though the World Trade Organization has standards in place for dealing with environmental issues, there are no recommendations made regarding environmental policies Busch & Krzysztof, 2010.

Organizations are thus free to interpret the recommendations as they please. Labor unions should support this because of the benefits inherent in these environmental laws Bagwell & Staiger, 2011()

Reasons grievances might be filed

Workplace grievances may be filed for different reasons. One is when there is an unreasonable rate of production in the company or the workload is heavy. Often employees might file grievances when the physical working conditions in the company violate the principle of "fair day's work for fair day's pay." This includes when the company speeds up production processes to increase production levels or changes the production standards, which requires employees to spend more time working to meet these new standards. The company may also change working hours in order to meet these production requirements requiring more employees to put in overtime hours that are inequitable.

A second reason why grievances may be filed is when the management fails to play their part or meet their responsibilities. A good example is when the management fails to treat all employees equally. If there is preferential treatment of a certain employee or employees, the workers may file grievances even if the preferential treatment is grounded in factors such as seniority. The management may also fail to meet their responsibilities by failing to ensure the health and safety of its employees while in the workplace. Health and safety laws require all companies to institute measures to ensure the workplace is healthy and safe. Where the management fails to meet the requirements of these laws, employees may file grievances.

Sources Used in Documents:


Bagwell, K., & Staiger, R.W. (2011). What Do Trade Negotiators Negotiate About? Empirical Evidence from the World Trade Organization. The American Economic Review, 101(4), 1238-1273. doi: 10.2307/23045898

Busch, M.L., & Krzysztof, J.P. (2010). The Politics of Judicial Economy at the World Trade Organization. International Organization, 64(2), 257-279. doi: 10.2307/40608015

Chen, H., Kacperczyk, M., & Ortiz-Molina, H. (2011). Labor Unions, Operating Flexibility, and the Cost of Equity. The Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 46(1), 25-58. doi: 10.2307/23018516

Dawkins, C. (2010). Beyond Wages and Working Conditions: A Conceptualization of Labor Union Social Responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 95(1), 129-143. doi: 10.2307/40784943
Thomas, C. (2004). Should the World Trade Organization Incorporate Labor and Environmental Standards? Cornell Law Faculty Publications. Retrieved from

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