Labor / Management Relations Do You Feel Case Study

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Labor / Management Relations

Do you feel that the labor relations system, as currently constituted, is good for effectively resolving disputes? What are the system's strengths and weaknesses? How would you change or reform it?

The reason why is because of the indirect role that the federal government will play in labor disputes. Where, they will only become involved once the situation becomes so extreme, that it could have an impact upon the nation. In this aspect, the approach that is being used is waiting for an event to become so severe, that the federal government has no choice but to act. This is problematic, because it shows how the current system allows the two sides to turn the situation into a spectacle. Where, the heated emotions and the inability of neither side to budge on their positions will create an atmosphere of contention (that could continue long after the dispute is settled). Once this occurs, it can mean that these issues will continue to be pushed down the road, until they can no longer be ignored. (Holley, 2009, pp. 11 -- 15)

The strengths of the current system are: it allows for a third party mediator to resolve the dispute, it provides stop gap measures for both sides (helping to prevent the labor dispute from escalating into violence) and it creates a win -- win situation for both sides. The various weaknesses includes: it can cause both sides to push the underlying issue down the road and it limits when mediators can become involved (as they will be used once a crisis is occurring). (Holley, 2009, pp. 11 -- 15)Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Case Study on Labor / Management Relations Do You Feel Assignment

To reform the system, the federal government should have greater enforcement powers, in settling various labor related disputes. Where, a similar arrangement could be implemented, to the one that is used for federal employees. What happens is the federal government will represent the tax payers and interests of the general public. This is gives bureaucrats more authority in settling labor related issues and it also limits the actions of both parties (if this is a public safety / security issue). If you can give the federal government, greater power in enforcing various labor provisions and settling disputes earlier. This could prevent the contentious atmosphere that occurs once they do become involved. (Holley, 2009, pp. 11 -- 15)

Case Study 7.2: A change in the medical insurance plan

The heart of the issue is: the rising health insurance premiums and declining profits that the organization has been facing. Where, these two factors have begun to place financial strains on the company (especially when you consider the fact that they were late on the last two premium payments). This has forced management to seek out a solution, to reduce the premiums that they are paying for health insurance. (Holey, 2009, pp. 331 -- 332)

What is creating the contentious atmosphere is the fact that management is attempting to unilaterally change the plan that company has been using, without providing any kind of explanation. This is problematic, because the plan that they want to switch to will provide the same basic services. The only difference is that employees will have to pay a deductable for prescription drugs, versus paying $4.00 every time they are having one filled. In this case, the fact that management did not consult with union officials is troubling. As the new plan that they are proposing, appears to be one that provides drastic changes for everyone (even though it is not). This image is further instilled when management is presenting the new plan and is encouraging everyone to sign their cards (without the Union President running the meeting). When you step back and look at the situation, it is clear that management is trying to reduce their costs for health insurance dramatically. However, they are approaching the situation wrong, by telling the union that the company has decided to go with a particular plan. This is what is creating the divisiveness, as the union was not consulted about these changes. Then, to make matters worse, management is telling everyone to accept these changes (without question). When you put these different elements together, this shows how the actions that were taken by management were inappropriate. As this has added, labor relations to the financial challenges the company is facing. (Holey, 2009, pp. 331 -- 332)

To address this problem, management must have a candid discussion about the financial challenges facing the company. Where, they need to make union officials aware of the serious risks the company is facing. This is because of the sharp increase in health insurance premiums and declining sales. It is at this point that they should offer union representatives several choices. The first one is: they could explain the health plan that management found, which provides the same basic benefits as stated in the contract. The only difference is the amount of coverage on prescriptions drugs. The second option would be, to have management and union officials find another health insurance provider. In this aspect, both sides would work together to find an insurance company that will be acceptable to both parties by: providing the required health coverage in the union contract and reducing what the company is paying in premiums. If the two sides cannot seem to come to an agreement on which option to choose, then an arbitrator should be brought into to negotiate. Where, they will look at the current plan that is being presented and they will determine, if the changes being proposed by management are following the provisions of the contract. This should be an option of last resort, as union officials and employees will more likely understand what is occurring if management is upfront with them, about the challenges that they are facing. Once everyone realizes the seriousness of the issue, is the point that both sides can begin to work together to address the underlying challenges. In many ways, one could argue that this is what is causing the situation to become so heated, as management is not working with union officials. Once this takes place, it causes the staff to think that this is another tactic of trying to reduce benefits, so that the company can maximize its profits (at the expense of employees). Even though this is not the case, the way management handled the situation made it appear as if this was their sole objective. (Holey, 2009, pp. 331 -- 332)

Case Study 9.3: The reinstatement offer

The key issues that are most relevant in this case include: the way the company handled the issue of employee strikes. Where, they assumed that two employees going on strike was considered to be an illegal action. Therefore, they are subject to termination. (Holey, 2009, pg. 411)

The problem is that they did so: without the consent of the union and they sent out a memo stating what would happen if anyone else attempts to strike. This is important, because the company is providing written evidence to the entire staff; that anyone who attempts to engage in any kind of strike actions will be fired. At which point, this can be used against the company, to show that they were engaging in unfair labor practices. The fact that they sent out a reinstatement letter to the terminated employees ten days later, shows how management knows that they violated the law. As they engaged in two different set of actions, one that was threatening and one that is conciliatory. In this case, it is easy to see how the actions taken by management are in violation of the law. Where, they will terminate two employees and threaten everyone else. Then, when they realized that they have crossed a legal boundary, is the point that they want to offer these employees their jobs back. This is significant, because it shows how the lack of communication (on the part of management) would contribute to the underlying problem. As the company was forced to do damage control, after it was clear that managers had violated the law, by terminating the two employees. (Holey, 2009, pg. 411)

To rectify the situation, management would have to comply with the ruling against them. At the same time, HR personnel must work with managers and executives to understand how the various labor laws apply to the company. Where, the actions taken by management towards the dismissal of the two employees and the memo they sent out to the company, highlights their lack of understanding the law. As a result, all managers must undergo some kind of retraining. Where, everyone must learn how to effectively work with: the staff and union officials to resolve the issue. This means that managers must have an effective working relationship with union officials and supervisors. As the two can help to ensure that the needs of the employees are met, while making certain that employees do not perform actions that could hurt productivity. If this kind of a relationship was in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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