Bargaining Structure by ewghwehws


									    Bargaining Structure

The structure of bargaining is a
broad concept referring to the
group or groups of employees and
employers who help determine or
are affected by a collective

     Bargaining Structure
Bargaining structure can be thought of
as consisting of FOUR COMPONENTS
which are not necessarily distinct:
    Informal Work Group
    Election Unit
    Negotiations Unit
    Unit of Direct Impact
     Informal Work Group
Workers that would have a tendency to
have a common view of their work

It may consist of workers in one or
more occupations that come into
frequent contact with each other

            Election Unit
A group or groups of workers that the
NLRB feels is an appropriate one for the
purpose of collective bargaining.

It is the certified bargaining unit, and it
may consist of one or more informal
work groups

           Election Unit
There are three categories of Election

   Single-employer, Single-location

   Single-employer, Multi-location

   Multi-employer                       5
       Negotiations Unit

The Negotiations Unit can be the
same as the Election Unit, but if
both parties agree to a broader
bargaining unit the Negotiations
Unit can include more than one
Election Unit.

        Negotiations Unit

Negotiations Units may encompass
multiple Election Units in a single
plant, several plants of the same
employer, or among more than one
Typically such units involve workers
organized by the same union.
Coalition bargaining is an exception.   7
     Unit of Direct Impact

Extends beyond the boundaries of
negotiations units. It may cover
more than one industry, as when
settlements by auto companies have
a direct impact on auto parts

The Appropriate Bargaining Unit
Before a unit can be elected and
certified as a representative of a
group of employees, the NLRB must
determine the appropriate bargaining
unit that the union is to represent.

The Appropriate Bargaining Unit
 If the union and employer can agree
 on which employees should be in the
 Election Unit, the board will run the
 election in that unit.
 Absent that agreement the
 responsibility for selecting the
 appropriate unit rest entirely with the
 board.                                10
Unit Determination Standards
Since the law provides few guidelines
for unit determination, the board has
developed its own:
 Mutuality or community of interests

 Geography or physical proximity

 Employers’ administrative /

  territorial division
Unit Determination Standards

   Functional integration
   Interchange of employees
   Bargaining history
   Employee desires
   Extent of organization
   Other guidelines may be considered
Board Limitations on Certifications

The only limitation on the board’s
authority with respect to its unit
certification powers relates specifically
to Professional, Craft, and Guard

    Professional Employees

The board is not allowed to include
both professional and
nonprofessional employees in the
same unit unless a majority of such
professional employees vote for
inclusion in such unit.

          Craft Employees

The board is prohibited from deciding
that any craft unit is inappropriate for
such purposes on the ground that a
different unit has been established by
a prior board determination.


The board is not permitted to
certify guards in the same unit as

    Additional Observation on
The board is not required to seek
and certify the “most appropriate or
optimal unit”

The board certifies units based on
the “jobs” or “job classifications”
and not on specific individuals
employed in these classifications.     17
    Additional Observation on
    (to be somewhat redundant)

Membership in the unit and in the
union are not necessarily the same.

    The Craft Bargaining Unit

The NLRB has defined a true craft
unit as a distinct and homogeneous
group of skilled journeymen,
craftsmen, working as such, together
with apprentices and/or helpers.

    The Craft Bargaining Unit

From the point of view of Industrial
Unions, it is not desirable to permit
craft workers separate representations.

     The Craft Bargaining Unit

The bargaining status of craft
employees within a firm depends on
the nature of the craft, type of industry,
collective bargaining history in the
industry, and, most important, on the
policies and practices of the NLRB.
     The Craft Bargaining Unit
Employers have a general bias toward
bargaining with as few unions as

Bargaining with multiple units
increases costs and makes it more
difficult to plan reliable production and
marketing schedules.
The NLRB and Craft Bargaining
Craft bargaining unit cases can be
divided into two broad categories:

        Initial Certification

        Severance Cases
 The NLRB and Craft Bargaining
In both instances, the NLRB has to
decide whether the craft satisfies the
appropriate criteria for certification.
It should be noted, however, that it is
easier for a craft to gain separate
certification rights when there is no
successful history of collective
bargaining within the context of a larger
unit.                                       24
       Craft Certification Criteria
   The craft employees are unrepresented.
They are engaged in traditional craft
work that is performed in a separate and
distinct location apart from other
They have a separate community of
interests and do not interchange with
other employees.
The union seeking recognition is a craft
union traditionally representing the craft
in question.                                 25
     Craft Certification Criteria

The board, confronted with the dilemma
between the right of self-determination of
craft employees and a potential threat to
stability in industrial relations, will
typically opt for stability.

Significance of Board Certification
The certification not only acts as a
catalyst to collective bargaining, but it
also influences collective bargaining

Although the parties are free to expand
bargaining beyond the unit selected by
the board this initial selection by the
board establishes the required basis for
bargaining.                                 27
Significance of Board Certification
A union considers several factors when
deciding on its desired unit:

The predominant factor seems to be its
ability to win and election.

Sometimes it’s agreeing to the employers
desired unit in order to get a quick election

A third set of factors involves attempts to
maximize the unit’s potential bargaining power. 28
Significance of Board Certification
Employers favor election units in which it
would be difficult for a union to organize
and obtain a majority.

Employers usually favor large election units
primarily because it is more difficult for unions
to win elections in such units.
There is less solidarity in large units, and
Management has more staffing flexibility when
all of its employees are in one large unit.         29
Significance of Board Certification
In the end, which side has the upper
hand in determining size of
bargaining units may depend on the
boards political coloration at the

   The Structure of Collective
 Bargaining in the United States
Two thirds (66.6%) of employees
covered by collective bargaining
agreements in the United States are
in situations where the actual
negotiation area, represented by the
people sitting at the bargaining table,
is different from the area covered by
the NLRB Certification.
     Bargaining Structure
Union and Management Interests
Union bargaining interest is
described as being either narrow,
as in a craft union representing
workers with a narrow group of
skills, or broad, as in an
industrial union representing all
employees in an industry.
     Bargaining Structure
Union and Management Interests
Management interests are either
centralized, as in multiemployer
or single-employer multiplant
negotiations, or decentralized, as
in single-employer, single-plant

Determinants of Bargaining Structure

  The term bargaining structure
  denotes a multiplicity of units
  tied together in a complicated
  network of relationships by
  social, legal, administrative and
  economic factors.

           Market Factors

Both employers and unions take into
account the market context when devising
the dimensions of bargaining structures.

Under conditions of sever product market
competition, some employers have opted
for multiemployer bargaining to reduce at
least one aspect of competitive pressure.
Bargaining Issues and Structures

 Bargaining issues can be classified as:
   Market-wide - (wages)
   Company-wide - (benefits)
   Local - (plant rules)

Current tend is toward more decentralized
bargaining - more emphasis on
productivity and job security.
    Representational Factors

Individual firms and unions are
sometimes willing to enter into
comprehensive alliances in order
to increase their bargaining

   The Impact of Government

The bargaining unit decisions of
the NLRB undoubtedly shape and
influence the characteristics and
nature of the present bargaining

               Power Tactics

Each party seeks to develop bargaining
structures that would maximize their
bargaining power.

Multiplant employers engaged in the production
of the same product in a number of plants,
would typically opt for a structure that consists
of individual single-plant bargaining units.
Vertically integrated production units would
incline the employer in the opposite direction.
And of course the union would object.               39
Individual Employee Influence
Individual influence is perhaps
greatest in narrow, decentralized
bargaining units where the union
represents only one occupation
and negotiations are with a
single employer, perhaps at the
plant level.

The Multiemployer Bargaining Unit
When a number of employers join forces for
purposes of collective bargaining, the unit
structure is described as a multiemployer
bargaining unit.

Sometimes agreements negotiated by a few
large employers are also signed by smaller
employers, who may agree to essentially the
same terms as those approved by a larger
The Multiemployer Bargaining Unit
  The primary form of bargaining in the


          Food Products and,

               Apparel Industries

Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining
 Competitive pressures are the
 dominant force encouraging both
 unions and employers to enter
 into multiemployer or industry-
 wide bargaining relationships.

Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining
  Small employers in highly
  competitive and labor-intense
  fields may find it easier to
  operate with uniformity of labor

Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining
 The multiemployer unit is
 particularly advantageous to both
 sides in industries composed of
 many small, financially weak

    (Neutralize the cost of benefits.)
Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining
 Multiemployer bargaining provides
 both unions and management with
 significant cost savings in
 negotiation of labor agreements.

Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining
 On the down side, multiemployer
 bargaining may overlook the
 needs of various employee
 groups, and ignore particular
 requirements of individual

 (causing high levels of internal stress)
Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining
 It should also be noted that
 multiemployer agreements are
 much more difficult to conclude
 than the single-employer contracts.

Effects of Multiemployer Bargaining
 In some multiemployer units,
 master contracts cover only items
 such as wages and major benefits,
 with other issues negotiated at the
 local level.

     Bargaining Power in the
       Multiemployer Unit
There are a number of reasons for
employers’ forming multiemployer

Some give up power to lessen
competition in the product market,
or to achieve industrial peace and
greater stability in labor relations.
     Bargaining Power in the
       Multiemployer Unit
Some employers have a need for a
countervailing power in the face of
strong unions.

Some unions also favor
mutiemployer bargaining as means
of increasing their power.
       Bargaining Power in the
         Multiemployer Unit
In some instances, the bargaining
power of a union may decline under
industry-wide bargaining.
And in some instances it may be in the
interest of the union to give up some of its
power as a means of satisfying its other
objectives. The survival of the firm.

   The Pros and Cons of
  Multiemployer Bargaining
One consequence of
multiemployer bargaining is
uniformity of contract terms.

There is opposition to such
standardization on the grounds
that it may be detrimental to the
public interest.                    53
      The Pros and Cons of
     Multiemployer Bargaining
One of the major counters to this
criticism is that this type of bargaining
has reduced the frequency of strikes and
produced more stable and mature labor

Additionally, the level of expertise and
sophistication of negotiators on both
sides is considerably higher.               54
    The Law and Mutiemployer
Although establishment of multiemployer
bargaining is done on a consensual
basis, the NLRB does impose some
constraints on union and management

Under Supreme Court law, either side
may withdraw at any time before
negotiations actually begin as long as
notice is given to the other side.        55
   The Future of Multiemployer
The number of employers and workers
covered by multiemployer labor
contracts have significantly declined
over the past 15 years.

The nature of the external environment is
changing the focus of negotiations from
industry stability to international
 The Future of Multiemployer

If the key issues continue to be
those best addressed at the firm
or plant level, such as
productivity, job classifications,
work rules, performance-based
pay, and job security, the trend
toward decentralization of
bargaining may be expected.          57
   Coordinated or Coalition

These terms refer to two or more
unions seeking to negotiate
similar terms with an employer.

In its strong form, one master
agreement might be signed
covering all employees of all
unions.                            58
   Coordinated or Coalition

The unions target of coordinated
bargaining is the large multiplant
corporation with an objective of
increasing their bargaining power.

    Coordinated or Coalition

Some National unions suffer a lack
of power when they compete.

One way to improve their position
and to achieve a greater uniformity
of terms in an industry is to
employ coordination.
    Coordinated or Coalition

The main reason some employers
have opposed coordinated
bargaining is potential loss of
bargaining power.

Employer consent is generally
withheld in most large multiplant
employer environments.
       Pattern Bargaining

An informal means of spreading
the terms and conditions of
employment negotiated on one
formal bargaining structure to


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