Collective bargaining is a practice that arose out of the necessity of workers and employees to defend and improve the conditions of their labor against companies, which are collective entities (Remington et al., 2012). Its purpose is to negotiate agreements that regulate the relationships between employees and workers. CBA agreements are present in many organizations that have to deal with trade unions (Remington et al., 2012). The purpose of this assignment is to design a new CBA agreement based on the initial negotiation with the employer, as the current CBA agreement is bound to expire in 6 months.
Normally, organizations that work under a CBA have no reason to drastically change the agreement, unless its conditions were negotiated with a disadvantage to one of the sides, or if the situation in the market has changed considerably. In a normal situation, the only mandatory conditions discussed under a CBA prolongation would be the updates on wages, premiums, on-call pay, and other things related to money, as the inflation each year requires companies to gradually raise salaries and payments to their employees (“Subjects of bargaining,” 2015).
At the same time, extraordinary events may result in a significant re-negotiation of the CBA agreement between parties (“Subjects of bargaining,” 2015). For the athletic organization and its employees, these factors would be the emergence of COVID-19, the significant drop in customers, and the reduced capacity of the organization to pay. At the same time, the introduction of the alternative dispute resolution program (ADR) has made alterations to how disputes and grievances are handled in the legal field.
CBA features two types of subjects – mandatory and permissive (“Subjects of bargaining,” 2015). These subjects differ from one another in that mandatory clauses are supposed to be covered by any CBA agreement that is being negotiated or renegotiated, as without them there would be potential loopholes in some of the most critical areas of the agreement, such as wages, hours, and working conditions (“Subjects of bargaining,” 2015). Striking or locking-out are legal methods of obtaining a mandatory subject of bargaining.
Non-mandatory subjects, also known as permissive, are different in that they comprise everything that falls outside of the jurisdiction of wages, hours, working conditions, and so forth (“Subjects of bargaining,” 2015). They related to the nature of the business and industry, as well as internal union affairs. Companies can negotiate over these matters with the unions if they wish, but cannot utilize a strike as a means of pushing the issue, nor could they bargain to an impasse. The line between mandatory and permissive clauses is gray at best, making borderline issues subjects of litigation.
For this CBA agreement, the primary mandatory issues should be wages, layoffs, leaves of absence, severance pays, as well as various security quality of labor measures to answer the COVID-19 pandemic. In these trying times people are losing jobs and it is the union’s top priority to ensure that those working in the athletic organization keep them for as long as possible. Permissive issues should include negotiation ground rules as well as the recognition of the bargaining unit under the ADR program (Pasternak, 2015).
Strikes are an important tool in collective bargaining that could be used against the employer. Organizations have a much greater assortment of tools to use to harass individual employees into submission, whereas the strike is a potent weapon that could potentially shut down the business in question, should it refuse to budge on some of the mandatory issues that define the CBA agreement. At the same time, employees are not allowed to threaten a strike against a company that abides by mandatory CBA but refuses to negotiate any non-mandatory questions. That way, harassment from the employees over non-essential issues is prohibited, therefore creating a balance.
Public employees should have the right to organize a strike just like any other employees. Not being able to do so leads to exploitation and potentially unfair agreements not from businesses, but from the government and the public sector, effectively rendering them powerless (Kenton, 2017). At the same time, given the conditions of COVID-19, it must be understood that any physical strikes on the company will endanger the populace. Therefore, homestay strikes should be the primary method of handling any issues until a quarantine passes.
The key issues that need to be included in the new CBA, thus, are as follows (“Subjects of bargaining,” 2015):
- Under what conditions would layoffs be possible and how many;
- How many hours should be allowed to be shaved off during the crisis;
- What should the new rates of payment be?
- How should strikes be handled?
- What safety precautions should be implemented?
The position of the union on the new CBA agreement regarding these matters should follow certain red lines, beyond which there could be no retreat. Layoffs under any circumstances outside of gross disciplinary breaches of conduct and outright criminal activities should be resisted. People are to be allowed to keep their jobs. The minimum hour range per week for all employees should be 20 hours. Rates of payment may be frozen at the current rate but not reduced, in order to prevent people from falling down the economic drain. Strikes are to be kept as a legitimate way of enforcing the issue, despite it being public sector. At the same time, public demonstrations are to be prohibited, but activism should be allowed in the social media as a means of attracting attention. Safety precautions against COVID-19, including the company providing masks, gloves, disinfectant, and thermometers, are to be maintained at all costs.
The grievance procedure and policy within the CBA should allow for the use of the new ADR program that has been adopted in 2018. Under its probations, the ADR is allowed to contact parties rather than waiting for them to sign up for the program (Pasternak, 2015). The athletic organization in question must be allowed to participate in the ADR, as its settlement percentage of 60% is high (Pasternak, 2015). The proposed grievance procedure and policy within the CBA should follow these steps (Remington et al., 2012):
- The grievance from an employee is to be reviewed by the employee’s supervisor in addition to the union supervisor. It will allow the grievance to be investigated and resolved informally.
- If the first step fails to achieve a satisfactory conclusion, the grievance is to be taken up the hierarchical ladder, up to the company director. A union representative is to participate at every meeting.
- If the company refuses to comply with the grievance, an outside arbitrator is called to solve the issue. The union represents the worker’s interest, while senior leaders of the organization – their own.
- Should a settlement not be reached from such bargaining, serious issues could be solved through litigation.
Remington, J., Heiser, R. T., Smythe, C., & Sovereign, K. (2012). Human resources law (5th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson.
Kenton, W. (2017). Taft-Hartley Act. Investopedia. Web.
Pasternak, D. (2018). NLRB announces a new pilot ADR program. Web.
Subjects of bargaining. (2015). Web.