Strategic Human Resources: Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining is a process that implies negotiations between an employer of an organization and the employees. Such negotiations are conducted in order to determine any relationships in the workplace, for example, standards of work, working timeframe, and the amount of the wages paid to employees. Collective bargaining was designed for discussing and negotiating any issues that arise between employer and worker, making decisions jointly. The process of collective bargaining takes place at a number of levels, including the national or inter-sectoral level, sectoral level, and, lastly, the company level (Cazes, Khatiwada, & Malo, 2012, p. 5).

However, the most spread type pf collective bargaining is bargaining on multiple levels, including all three types mentioned above. Due to the fact that the work timeframes and wages are the most significant parts of economic production or provision of services, including nursing, on the basis of the coverage degree, the process of collective bargaining directly affects the performance of service providers.

Both management and union members are bound by particular legal components when it comes to negotiations. The National Labor Relations Board enforces the National Labor Relations Act that covers the majority of employers. Thus, the primary intention of labor law is to protect the rights of employees to bargain with their employers regardless of the organization they work in. However, the law is not intended for establishing the terms of a specific contract or fix problems of injustice that may occur in the workplace. Based on this principle, labor law offers a supportive basis for the management and workers to effectively negotiate on various aspects of their business: wages, working conditions, working hours, compensations, and others.

There is nothing in the legal framework of collective bargaining which makes both sides of a negotiation reach a mutual agreement in the end. However, the law requires the management and employees to participate in collective bargaining in “good faith in an attempt to reach an agreement” (Fecteau, 2011, p. 2).

Manager’s Role in Union Organizing

When the union campaign takes place, a manager is allowed to act in a way that will not interrupt the right of employees to make independent choices when it comes to union organization (Cummings & Worley, 2015, p. 384). In a case when an employer threats to fire employees, promises to provide them with benefits for making decisions in favor of an employer or implements other actions of employee coercing, the employer will be charged with the unfair labor practice charge. If violations of employees’ rights to organize a union independently are found by the Labor Relations Board, the employer becomes a losing party on union organizing, without any negotiations.

A question of whether a manager should participate in the process of union organizing is rather tactical for the union itself since bargaining committees are often faced with this issue. Thus, the answer on the question of the manager’s role in union organizing depends on particular cooperation terms as well as on the analysis of advantages and disadvantages the union will deal with in relation to the management.

The Role of National Labors Relations Board

The National Labors Relations Board is an independent body established by the federal government in 1935. The primary role of the Board consists of administering and enforcing the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Furthermore, the Board possesses unique jurisdiction in the majority of cases that arise in the coverage of the NLRA; however, its decisions are possible for the appeal to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. In most cases the authority of the National Labor Relations Board is enforced by thirty-three directors that come from various regions in the US, whose decisions are possible to be reviewed by the Board itself (Rothwell & Prescott, 2012, p. 6).

The main function of the NLRB is to make decisions on the following types of cases: cases of unfair working practices and cases of poor representation. Such types of cases start from papers filing with the assistance of a regional director or a resident. The NLRB decision can be addressed through the U.S. Circuit Court that has a territorial power over the employer.

Effect of Unions on Benefits, Compensation, and Staffing Ratios

Labor unions have a direct effect on the compensation as well as the working lives of both union- and non-union members of the organization’s staff. According to the research conducted by Mishel (2012), unions are able to raise wages for the non-union workers by approximately twenty percent; if to include benefits, approximately twenty-eight percent (p. 2). Furthermore, unions reduce the wage gap among low-income, middle-income, and high-income employees through the encouragement of raising wages for the first two categories rather than employees of high income. Because many workers that belong to labor unions are more likely to have more profound information on a number of topics concerning the workplace ethics, they are much more likely to find benefit in such programs like compensation and insurance for unemployed workers.

The effect of unions is not always positive. For example, the decline in the number of unions has negatively influenced men with average income. The effect was larger for this group above all others with the wage gap of three-fourths between white-collar and blue-collar workers.

The Role of the Nurse Manager in Labor-Management Relationships

Effective interdependence between a nurse management and the staff is essential for improving the quality of care in health facilities (Toles & Anderson, 2011, p. 221). Thus, labor-management relationships are targeted at developing an innovative framework of collaborative interactions between nursing managers and its staff. The labor relations can be reflected in three results:

  • Establishment of a career ladder and the strategy of promotions that does not punish employees.
  • Nurse managers developing new ratios of nursing staff.
  • Partnerships are considered the only ways to work effectively within all areas of a healthcare organization.

It is crucial for the healthcare facility to involve nurse managers in the process of cost negotiations and the improvement of the quality of work. This is important for an organization since nurse managers possess the most knowledge about the everyday work and how to solve a situation when the everyday tasks fail. To establish a reliable connection between workers and the management, a nurse manager has to be committed to providing effective input from all primary stakeholders of a healthcare organization. The labor-management relationships thus offer the best type of system that is needed for effective development since it engages all members of the nursing staff in a process of effective negotiations in order to make changes in the way healthcare is provided to patients.


Cazes, S., Khatiwada, S., & Malo, M. (2012). Employment protection and collective bargaining: Beyond the deregulation agenda. Geneva, Switzerland: International Labor Office.

Cummings, T., & Worley, C. (2015). Organization development and change. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Fecteau, M. (2011). Legal boundaries of collective bargaining. Web.

Mishel, L. (2012). Unions, inequality, and faltering middle-class wages. Economic Policy Institute, 342: 1-12.

Rothwell, W., & Prescott, R. (2012). National Labor Relations Board. The Encyclopedia of Human Resource Management: Short Entries. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Toles, M., & Anderson, R. (2011). State of the science: Relationship-oriented management practices in nursing homes. Nursing Outlook, 59(4): 221-227.

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