Hello students and welcome to lesson number 3. this lesson will feature a number of topics for consideration including chapter 2 of our textbook titled developing proposals. Previously I had posted relevant sections of the national Labor Relations act for your review. This lesson I have posted relevant sections of the Myers–Milias brown act. This act, passed in 1969, applies to public employees such as city, County, and other similar municipal employees. I have highlighted the relevant sections for your review. This lesson will also include a video produced by the Department of Labor in 1980. While this video is somewhat dated is nevertheless applicable today. Unfortunately, there is a significant absence of relevant videos available for teaching a course like collective bargaining. I do my best to continue researching and finding video examples that can be applied to our lessons. Fortunately the video titled Waldenville has been uploaded to YouTube. I will be posting segments of this video each week through its conclusion. For those of you who have little or no experience in collective bargaining what you will see is a reasonable dramatization of what collective-bargaining may look like. For those of you who have experience and collective bargaining I ask that you look at the video more critically in relationship to the lessons that will be taught this semester. Proposals are derived, or at least they should significantly be derived, from members interests. Determining interest of the members is often done through a questionnaire or survey process. As a way to gather the interests of our class I have developed a short survey for you to complete. Please answer the questions on the survey to the best of your ability. The results of the survey will be used to determine the needs and interests of the students in this class as if we were all employed by the same employer. in this lesson block there is also a document that outlines the mandatory subjects of bargaining in accordance with the national Labor relations act. Please take time to review that resource is presented in this lesson plan since it relates to the fact that we are discussing proposal development. And under law it is important that you know what proposals can in fact be negotiated. Not all topics or issues are subject to negotiations. The resource document that is provided for you will explain and define mandatory subjects of bargaining, permissive subjects of bargaining, and unlawful or illegal subjects of bargaining. Also included as a resource is an overview about the employers obligation to provide necessary and relevant information. A 3 rd resource which you will find in this lesson block is an example of an open ended survey. In fact the survey is quite contemporary in that it is being used by the American Federation of Government employees to survey the TSA agents. Which is the transportation security agents That we see at all airports these days. As this lesson’s case study there is an article that gives an overview about the 2003 grocery worker strike in Southern California that lasted approximately 4 months. I’m sure that most of you are familiar with that event at least in the fact that occurred here in Southern California. And finally the Gallup poll recently released its annual findings about union popularity in the United States. You will be reading and reviewing those findings and then posting your opinion on how the popularity numbers is most likely to affect collective-bargaining in the United States. So this week has a lot for you to review but this is necessary in order to lay a strong foundation for the lessons ahead. Now will move on to the specific discussion about developing proposals.
The Union will establish its bargaining agenda. The agenda, among other items, will include the list of proposals or the creation of the list of proposals based on information that was gathered from the membership, union stewards, union officers and union staff. At 1 st the issues that lead to proposals will most likely be significant in number. But that does not mean just because the issues are significant in number that there is significant support among the members for each issue. That is because when surveys are conducted it provides an opportunity for each respondent to post their particular issue on the survey. Therefore it becomes the bargaining committees responsibility to examine the surveys and determine where there are common and repeated issues and events in the workplace. Where there is often repetition or need this will most likely make at least the 1 st cut on issues to be considered. Why? It is because the union is seeking out issues that have a collective effect and is most likely to gain collective support. Obviously every issue may not be a number 1 priority or perhaps even a number 2 priority or for that matter a number 3 priority. The bargaining committee will examine the issues and determine the ranking of issues in the order of what members are most likely to support the most down to the least. The bargaining committee will seek out issues and prioritize issues that are more likely to gather support, maintain support and result in a favorable outcome. The bargaining committee will also have the responsibility of setting parameters. When engaging in bargaining known as distributive bargaining, which is in fact a win–lose type of bargaining parameters will be established to determine what bottom lines are acceptable. I will be talking more about distributive bargaining in a future lesson. Most proposals that are presented are are proposed and written as the 1 st choice of acceptance. Put more simply if you proposed it you wrote it and you shared it with the employer the 1 st time that is what you want. That is your proposal. That is your number 1 choice otherwise why would it have been proposed and written as it is as it is presented to the employer. Well unfortunately the likelihood of 1 st proposal acceptance by the employer is unlikely. Therefore it becomes important to establish a parameter. This means what will we propose and what could we except if the employer says no to the 1 st proposal. The bargaining committee must be prepared to submit counterproposals down to a lowest level within the parameters or the bottom line. To explain that further the bargaining committee may have developed and prepared for the employer’s response by creating or at least having and idea of what they’re adjustments to the original proposal would be and Know just how far they’re going to adjust. Since many of you taking this class have not had exposure to collective bargaining I want to use a more common example of a parameter that you may be able to relate to but nevertheless it is a form of negotiations. So let’s say you walk on to the lot of the car dealership. You look at the sticker price. The price on the sticker is in fact the dealers 1 st proposal. They want you to accept their proposal. But you as a customer have done your research, and you are prepared to negotiate the price of the car. But you have also determined what your bottom line is meaning you will only spend X amounts on the car. By doing this you have set your parameter. And you could measure your negotiation with the dealer as successful if you were able to achieve your purchase within your parameter. Agreements usually are attained after significant persuasion. This is typically true of every proposal that is placed for discussion on the bargaining table. And as I previously stated in the opening lecture in lesson 1 it is important to develop your argument or your persuasion points to justify your proposal. And this includes all relevant information that would assist you in persuading the other side to reach agreement.
In order to develop proposals that will garner the support of the membership it’s necessary to understand the interests of the membership. It is necessary to create an opportunity and hold an opportunity for the members of the union to express their needs, discuss their problems, and provide you with their priorities. Member expression can also serve as an opportunity to to gather ideas for solving or resolving workplace problems. These ideas that come from the members can assist the bargaining committee in converting these ideas into actual contract language to be negotiated.
in order to collect information from the union members that will require the union establishing membership forum opportunities so that information can be exchanged between union members and union officers or bargaining committee. Some of the opportunities are easily established because the union will most likely have regular union meetings which are held on a monthly basis. The union could set aside of period of time during their regular union meeting for the sole purpose of gathering information about the membership needs as a relates to issues in the workplace and their needs and their interest as a relates to collective bargaining. Another means in order to gather the views and interests of the membership is to conduct a special meeting or hold a special meeting. This has an advantage because it allows the members to come forth and be together to discuss collective bargaining issues exclusively. It gives an opportunity for members to see that other members are faced, perhaps, with the same work problems, or share the same interest, or have the same needs. This is an opportunity to have somewhat of your 1 st pep rally about the importance of people coming together and staying together and building solidarity. if the union is to comprehensively examine the needs and interests and priorities of the members it will require, if you will, drilling down in to the membership. Sadly, and too often, members will not come to the meetings so the union through its volunteers will need to go to the members. For instance the union may have volunteers at its employer’s various departments and locations. The volunteer can bring people together and solicit their information, needs, interests, and learn about problems at the worksite that may be addressed in bargaining. A negotiation survey is a more common method used to gather information about the membership’s needs and interests. I have provided an example of the survey within the lesson block. With the development of electronic communication many labor unions now employ the Internet as a means in which to communicate with the membership and conduct surveys. There is a link to such a survey within this lesson block so please take a look at that. Perhaps the best way of gathering the most information, and the most thorough information is through one-on-one meetings. What I mean by one-on-one is this involves a union officer or volunteer or for instance a union steward to meet one-on-one with a union member to assist them and encourage them to fill out the negotiation survey. A negotiation survey used with a one-on-one meeting is the most effective way to gain comprehensive knowledge about the needs of the bargaining unit members. It simply comes down to the more surveys that can be collected by meeting with individual members the more informed the bargaining committee will be about the needs and interests of the members. Unfortunately, membership return of surveys has a very low percentage rate when not combined with union volunteer follow-up and assistance.
This is an example of an open ended survey. The questions are exclusively open ended and require the bargaining unit member to answer the question through a narrative as demonstrated on the next slide. A survey usually contains 2-3 sections. The first section gathers data about the member. The second section requests responses to issues. An open end survey requires narrative responses while a closed-ended survey request the member choose among the choices. This slide demonstrates a request for membership data.
This survey questions highlights Section 7 of the contract, summarizes the issue and lists possible options that may be available to resolve the issue through negotiations. This survey question requires the member to respond with a narrative answer. It has been my experience return rates on surveys that require narrative responses is very low. This was particularly true when the questionnaire required numerous responses. Please access the resource survey and think about how likely your co-workers would be to complete the survey.
This survey is an example of a closed end survey. The issues are listed and then the respondent is asked to simply make a choice. It does not call for a narrative response. In this example members are requested to rank their top 3 issues as a priority. Although there are 10 issues listed. It limits the respondents choice to 3. This forces members to decide their priorities. As the results of all surveys are gathered and tabulated for all respondents the issues can be rated 1 through 10. The union, as a best practice focus it’s time and energy in the highest ranking areas. The union will not want to focus its attention on ranks 7-10 while but instead 1-3. Using this survey, the members have ranked the issues for the bargaining committee and know where to place its efforts and focus.
in addition to gathering information that establishes the needs of the membership it is as equally important that the bargaining committee examine the contract to determine where there may be weaknesses, ambiguities, omissions. An ambiguity is language that may have more than one interpretation therefore resulting in more than one application to him. Ambiguities are most often the cause of grievances. Since it is the management’s responsibility to carry out the terms of the contract, management may apply terms of the contract in a manner not intended by the union. This often is a result of the union and management having a different interpretation of the language in the contract. Is in the best interest of the union to clear up the ambiguity by modifying the contract language to be so clear that its future application would be difficult to administrate any other way other than how the contract clearly and unmistakably reads. the union will also review grievances that have been filed to determine if the reasons the grievance was due to poor or weak contract language. If a grievance proceeds to arbitration, and the arbitrator rules in favor of management, the union will likely submit a proposal that will improve the contract language in a way that will benefit the membership. Management policies may impact wage, hours and working conditions. Policies often change and evolve. New or modified policies may not be currently addressed in the CBA. The union committee may examine the effects of the policies and make proposals that mitigate the employer’s policies in a manner that is more favorable to the employee.
The potential information that may be collected, analyzed and used for negotiations seems endless. Yet, too routinely union bargaining committees do not seek out the information from either the employer or the members. Bargaining done blindly results in unfavorable outcomes and dissatisfied members. Collecting facts about the employees and the employer is essential. This siide points out just a few of several essential facts that must be gathered in order to be informed. Facts about the makeup of the unit. For an example of the the type facts refer to your textbook and the example request for information letter that is shown. Negotiating without facts is a lot like driving in darkness without headlights. You are going to run into trouble. Also, refer to the Preparation for Negotiation document in lesson one for examples of the kind of information that may be needed.
When requesting information form the employer it is a best practice to make such request in writing. The National Labor Relations Board has long been supportive of the union’s right to information that is relevant to mandatory subjects of bargaining. Included in this lesson is a resource document legal that explains these rights in detail. It is not unusual that an employer will delay or ignore a written request. This may require the union to request the information multiple times. An employer has an obligation to provide the information it requests –there are some limitations- when the request is not fulfilled, then the union may file an Unfair Labor Practice Charge with the NLRB.
Bargaining Agenda <ul><li>Creating List of Proposals </li></ul><ul><li>Setting Priorities </li></ul><ul><li>Setting Parameters </li></ul><ul><li>Developing Arguments </li></ul>
Membership Interests <ul><li>Encourage member expression </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>priorities </li></ul></ul>
Membership Forums <ul><li>Traditional union meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Special meetings: gather views </li></ul><ul><li>Small group meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiation Survey (see example in lesson block) </li></ul><ul><li>One-on-one meetings </li></ul>
Collect Information <ul><li>Essential unit employee facts </li></ul><ul><li>Health benefits (active and retirees) </li></ul><ul><li>Pensions/Profit Sharing/401k </li></ul><ul><li>Employer’s Financial Informaton </li></ul>
Request for Information <ul><li>Request Necessary and relevant </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In writing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Legal right to information </li></ul><ul><li>Usually requires repeated requests </li></ul><ul><li>Refusal to provide: Unfair Labor Practice </li></ul><ul><li>See example request letter p.35 Ex 2.2 textbook </li></ul>