The student will define and discuss what collective bargaining is.
The student will research, outline, and discuss all of the steps of the collective bargaining process.
The student will research, outline, discuss and evaluate of the best practices for collective bargaining strategies.
The student will research, outline, discuss and evaluate the arguments against and pro collective bargaining.
The student applied correct APA, style, usage, grammar, sentences and punctuation.
The student supported the research paper with at least four different scholarly sources such as research journals, research studies, government or accredited educational institutions Web sites.
The Collective Bargaining Process
The collective bargaining process definition
The collective bargaining process can be defined as a situation whereby the negotiation of wages & salaries and the employment terms & conditions is conducted by an organized body representing the employees (Marchington & Wilkinson, 2006). The range of issues negotiated in a collective bargaining process involve a myriad of issues such as safety policies, training, job health issues, balancing work and family life, and employment terms such as pay, leave issues, benefits, overtime issues, and among others. The collective bargaining process emerged as an alternative way of solving workplace related issues. The interests of the workers are presented by the trade union which advocates for the rights of all employees. The union representing employees may either engage in negotiations with a single employer, while on other occasions it may reach out to a group of businesses in order to develop a collective agreement in the entire industry. This may depend on a country or the nature of the industry.
The collective bargaining process is governed by state and federal statutory regulations. Other bodies involved in this process include the judiciary and administrative agencies. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was established to exclusively govern the collective bargaining process. This act was established in 1935 by Congress giving the employees the right to bargain for better terms of employment and to join trade unions without facing any sort of discrimination from the employers (Marchington & Wilkinson, 2006). The National Labor Relations Board outlines the major provisions of the act. NLRA outlines the appropriate procedures to be followed when deciding on a labor organization to represent the grievances of the employees. The act curtails employer involvement in this process. The act does not require either of the factions to come up with a concession but lays out a neutral platform where both parties can discuss pertinent issues affecting their relationship. The act also outlines the kind of tactics that each faction may apply in the collective bargaining process, for instance, go-slows, picketing, and others as deemed appropriate.
Steps of the collective bargaining process
There are a number of steps observed in collective bargaining process. Five major steps are followed during the collective bargaining process.
Preparation for negotiation – this is the first stage in the collective bargaining process. This stage involves formation of bargaining teams from both factions. These teams gather relevant information relating to the contentious issues afflicting employees. The management team is often appointed by the board while the union team representing the employees is appointed in accordance to the union’s constitution or by-laws governing it. Each of the teams may hold meetings with its constituents in order to strategize issues. In this phase, both of the teams are supposed to analyze the current bargaining agreement in order to identify issues and to highlight the specific areas that need change (“NEA,” 2008).
Establishing the bargaining style – in this stage, the parties involved meet to discuss various issues among them being the nature in which discussions will take place. Proposal bargaining and interest-based bargaining are the two commonly used methods of bargaining. In proposal bargaining, one team drafts proposed changes which are then presented to the other team for negotiation. The two parties then engage in negotiations relating to the proposals until an agreement is reached. In interest-based bargaining, both of the parties identify contentious issues and discuss the interest behind these issues. The two parties then decide on the standards and procedures to be applied in analyzing the available options. On developing an agreement, the contract language is developed (“NEA,” 2008).
Negotiations – on establishing the bargaining style, the two teams start negotiations. The teams must base their negotiations on the style identified in the previous process. Ground rules are also established during this process. These rules guide the entire negotiation process. The negotiation process is also guided by the existing laws as well as laws of precedence obtained from past court cases. This stage may often begin with the representatives of various teams presenting a raft of demands which they wish to receive. During the negotiations, the teams may base their decisions on previous agreements. The team representing the management may offer slightly more than what was in the previous agreement. Both of the teams assess the relative strength of each other priorities and demands (“NEA,” 2008).
Reaching an agreement – an agreement is reached at when both of the teams are satisfied with the proposals for change and accept them wholly. In this case, a tentative agreement is signed by the teams. The tentative agreement is prepared in written form and contains the date of implementation of the new changes, the duration the agreement will be in operation, and the signatories involved. This agreement is then presented to the management and employees for ratification and approval. The agreement is only binding to the parties involved. The agreement comes into force once signed by all the parties involved. If an agreement is not reached, the parties may employ various measures such as strikes, involving a third party or mediation by using a neutral party (“NEA,” 2008).
Implementation stage – this is the final stage in collective bargaining process. Implementation of the changes is one of the issues discussed during the negotiation stage. The agreement must be implemented to the latter as stated. The Human Resource Department is mandated with ensuring that the agreement is implemented in full
Best practices for collective bargaining process
Strategic collective bargaining involves approaching the collective bargaining process with all the necessary information, clear priorities and clear bargaining strategy.
Collective bargaining should link to organizational plans – the strategic bargaining process should be guided by the objectives of the organization. This may be in terms of workforce planning, operational planning, competition planning, and market planning. Information gathered should outline the future needs requirements with regard to organizational objectives (Thomson, Arney, & Thomson, 2015).
Availability of data – teams in collective bargaining process can better advance their points when they are backed up by relevant and sufficient data. Each parties need proper data that can support their position. For instance, past copies of financial documents and bargaining agreements can play a crucial role in the process (Thomson, Arney & Thomson, 2015).
Strategic approach and preparation – this involves developing a winning strategy and having enough preparation for the bargaining process. Each team should be thoroughly prepared by going through the issues at hand and also by analyzing the past history relating to the issues. The teams should also develop strategies or the priority areas to voice during the bargaining process (Thomson, Arney & Thomson, 2015).
Understanding the operational and commercial needs – it is important to understand what one seeks from the bargaining process. This involves analyzing information relating to work performance, competitors analysis, remuneration, and other factors in relation to the business needs. The management team analyzes how the changes can improve business operations and contribute to higher efficiencies.
Understanding the legal standpoint – each teams must be conversant with the legal standpoint concerning the contentious issues. The legal standpoint significantly determines the outcomes of the bargaining process (Thomson, Arney & Thomson, 2015).
Arguments against and pro collective bargaining
Collective bargaining may severely limit the actions of management – the management prefers having a free hand when it comes to making crucial decisions in the workplace. Collective bargaining may at times curtail the liberty of senior management leading to poor performance of the organization (Gennard & Judge, 2005).
Collective bargaining may escalate tension between management and employees – vested interests of various representative groups may take hold of the situation and propagate the differences between employees and the management.
It is a time consuming method – lastly, collective bargaining may slow down the decision making process due to lengthy consultations which between the two groups which takes up a lot of time (Gennard & Judge, 2005).
Arguments in favor
Collective bargaining process is an extension of democracy in the workplace – collective bargaining brings parties with different opinions and viewpoints to the bargaining table where they both agree on the way forward. As such, collective bargaining has seen as one that establishes industrial jurisprudence. Collective bargaining introduces the aspect of civil rights in the labor industry (Gennard & Judge, 2005).
Collective bargaining promotes social stability – collective bargaining promotes participatory democracy while ultimately results to social stability in the workplace. Employees participate in formulation of work rules by joining labor organizations. As such, there is no constant agitation for changes in the workplace between the employees and the management. This promotes social stability since conflicts are reduced.
Collective bargaining promotes equity between employers and workers – the collective bargaining process equates the power between employees and the employers. When employees bargain collectively, they have more power compared to when they bargain as individuals (Gennard & Judge, 2005).
Collective bargaining enhances the rights and welfare of all parties – collective bargaining benefits both the employees as well as the management.
Gennard, J., & Judge, G. (2005). Employee relations. London: Chartered institute of personnel and development.
Marchington, M., & Wilkinson, A. (2006). Human resource management at work: People management and development. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
National Education Association. (2008). Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy. Retrieved from: http://www.nea.org/assets/docs/120701-CBWhatisitandHow-itWorks- 3page.pdf
Thomson, R., Arney, E., & Thomson, A. (2015). Managing people: A practical guide for front- line managers. New York, NY: Routledge.