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Collective Bargaining

Essay Topic:

Collective bargaining is method that some employers use to negotiate with employees. Collective bargaining does not exist in every organization. However, each organization that contributes to collective bargaining must ensure they are complying with different laws.

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This essay will explain the right to work laws with an analysis of the provisions of the Taft-Hartley Act, an explanation of the National Labor Board, and evaluate Human Resources, products, and services in collective bargaining.

The Taft Hartley Act is another shield that protects a union in the organization. The Labor –Management Relations Act (Taft Hartley Act) of 1947, places the federal government in a watchdog position to ensure that union-management relations are fair by both parties (Byars & Rue, 2004). With the Taft Hartley Act, management and unions can share a balance of power. The major provisions of the act include the addition of the so-called free speech clause and prohibition of secondary boycotts. This clause allows management to speak freely about unions without retaliation.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is a five-member created by the National Labor Relations Act and appointed by the president of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate and with the authority to administer the Wagner Act (Byars & Rue, 2004). The importance of the NLRB is to prevent unfair labor practices. This board has the power to safeguard employees’ rights. The right to work law allows every American to work in an organization without belonging to a union. Only 22 states are in accordance with the right to work laws.

The right to work laws focuses on individual freedom and does not bind an employee to the union. The negative aspect of this law is that Unions argue that employees not belonging to the union receive a free ride (Byars & Rue, 2004). Many companies and union members are facing controversy over the right to work laws. Human resources play a vital role in collective bargaining and the union. Human resources use collective bargaining to handle ongoing issues between management and employees. The members of the human resources department receive adequate training on how to handle negotiations and disputes.

Human resources are the backbone of collective bargaining. This department must be able to maintain a working relationship between the manager and the employee. The key characteristic of collective bargaining industries to make guarantee the company has a department capable of handling negotiations. In addition, negotiations must be fair and pleasing to both parties. Negotiation is a two-party transaction whereby both parties intend to resolve a conflict (Cascio, 2003). AT&T, Kroger, and Ford are three companies that conduct integrative bargaining where each party benefits.

AT&T is the largest private employer of union workers in the United States (AT&T Inc. , 2010). AT&T and its union have a long tradition of mutual respect in collective bargaining agreements. Leadership from both management and the unions have a commitment to reach agreements fair to employees and provide the company the flexibility it needs in today’s highly competitive telecommunications environment (AT&T National Negotiations, 2011). The contract negations between management and the unions center on wages and benefits. The company offers competitive pay, retirement, health insurance, and a host of other benefits.

In return, the employees offer labor and productivity. AT&T’s union, Communications Workers of America (CWA) conducts several negotiations during the same time. Both parties agree upon rules to facilitate compromises between conflicting interests over the terms and conditions of employment. The key characteristics for bargaining are to ensure employees are receiving fair treatment and communication is clear. The Kroger Company is on the verge of a new union growth initiative that will directly affect both employees and the management team.

The company is building new union membership to provide excellent daily representation, protect union market share, and negotiate union contracts with strong wages, benefits, working conditions, and job protections (Kroger Connection, 2010). The message Kroger union is attempting to display is that a strong membership causes fewer problems. Representation and protection of employees is an important aspect of collective bargaining for Kroger. A key element for Kroger’s collective bargaining is to determine if the state is a right-to-work state. Establishing this factor allows members to decide hich direction to proceed in terms of bargaining.

Ford and United Auto Workers (UAW) are leaders in developing a broad range of approaches to worker environment and labor –management cooperation. Negotiations are at a national and local level. Both parties address the issues concerning product quality, employee involvement, health and safety, and employee assistance (About the NPC, 2011). Employee development and training is one of the prominent sections the union and management discuss during negotiations. In November 2007, employees made a pledge to accept and finalize Ford’s new collective bargaining agreement.

The agreement shows proof that by working together with UAW partners, it is possible to find solutions that collectively benefit employees, retirees, and the company (UAW, 2007). The key characteristic for Ford’s collective bargaining is to assemble a committee for the resolutions of disputes. The committee should take measures to increase productivity in the industry under collective bargaining agreements. Toyota is a company that does not participate in collective bargaining. The differences between a union company and Toyota are the benefits. The companies with unions incur higher costs.

Toyota can increase wages offer bonuses, and more benefits by not conforming to a union. In a competitive environment, Toyota can pay top wages to fight off UAW organizing efforts. Toyota shows that a non-union company can compete by paying higher wages. Toyota continues to discover techniques to operate efficiently, reduce labor, and motivate employees. Wal-Mart is world’s leading grocery and has been a target of unions. Although many unions are attempting to impose collective bargaining on Wal-Mart, this company is steadfast on remaining a union free zone.

Wal-Mart has the right not to partake in collective bargaining. For example, in 2000, 10 employees from a Wal-Mart meat department in Jacksonville, Texas, decided to make United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) their union. Wal-Mart refused negotiations and replaced the meat cutters with experienced employees (Wal-Mart Watch, 2011). Understanding the impact of every decision that takes place is a key element in remaining free from collective bargaining. Employers make decisions that will affect everyone in the organization.

Human resources use distributive bargaining or integrative bargaining to negotiate with the union. Employees who reside in a right to work state have the opportunity to take advantage of the right to work laws, even if the employees encounter opposition. Every member of a collective bargaining organization must familiarize him or herself with the National Labor Relations Board and the Taft-Hartley Act. Moreover, Human resources should take the necessary steps to conquer collective bargaining. Companies that oppose collective bargaining must refrain from bashing unions.

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