Issues in the Mock Negotiation Problem Essay.
Being a member of the Local 5000 in this whole project I could point out numerous things that make the employees at Auto Products Corporation want things better. There seems to be issues at the Indianapolis plant concerning overtime, premium pay, and even subcontracting instead of using their own employees to do the work. What I have also gotten from this mock negotiation is that in the past, the union and management have been satisfactory.
I have not had a very good experience with my teammates on this project.
I agree that this should’ve been a fun project but it has been very stressful to me. As far as different viewpoints I feel again as though I’ve done this whole project by myself because everything I posted the only response I received most of the time is “sounds good”, “I agree”, “good idea”. I could go on and on about how my views differed from my teammates or how I feel like I had no help in the negotiation.
I also feel as though I played the role of secretary and chairperson in this project but overall I am satisfied with the final results on our issues raised to management.
Research was provided for my team by me concerning the current seniority clause, required overtime, and the issues concerning the company’s right to subcontract. The union wanted to stick to the current seniority clause, which management agreed, because it isn’t fair that junior employees can come in before a senior at the company to take the place of a job when a senior employee is qualified to fill the position. I provided the following research to my team from the textbook: In many contracts, seniority governs promotions when a senior employee is “qualified” to fill the position in question. Under others, seniority becomes the determining factor in promotions when the senior has the ability for the job in question equal to that of all other employees who may desire the better job.(Text page359) Sticking with the current seniority clause will ensure that positions are filled properly.
Also, in the Mock Negotiation it states that the company has the right to require overtime in the existing contract but there was an issue raised by the employees that the supervisor isn’t fair and that they have been giving their friends the opportunity to earn the extra money and discriminating against the other employees. For this issue I provided the following research from the textbook: The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 places no restriction on employees to work more than 40 hours in a workweek, other than the employees who work more than 40 hours must be paid at least one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for all hours in excess of 40 hours. The textbook also states that when a supervisor makes an error in the regard of offering his/her friends to work overtime and discriminating others; the employer may be faced with a grievance filed by the employee and ask for the amount of money he/she would have earned if he/she would’ve worked.
Also, the situation of paying for the same work twice at overtime rates.(text pages288-290) This could be a major disaster if the company doesn’t fix this and if it isn’t then many possible grievances can still be filed. On the issues concerning the company’s right to subcontract, in the negotiation it stated that for many years each skilled tradesperson has worked only within his or her trade and five months ago the company required a mechanic to do a job normally performed by a plumber. A grievance was filed and the arbitrator sustained the position of the union on the basis of the “past practice” principle. I provided the following research from the textbook for my team: The union should ask the the company add a subcontracting section in the labor agreement.
The textbook gives an example of a subcontracting section in a labor agreement that states whenever the company contemplates contracting out any type of work normally performed by a maintenance employees, it shall inform the President, Chairman, and Grievance Committee and the affected Shop Steward of its intentions prior to making a decision to award the contract.(text page389)This would be great considering for many years the company had each skilled tradeperson working only within his or her trade.
When the company required a mechanic for a job that normally was performed by a plumber the employee and union filed a grievance. The company should stick with “past practice” and continue to keep their tradepeople working only within his or her trade. If not then workrightspress.com states that stewards can do the following: Past practices grievances are well suited for group action. Unions can: • Encourage numbers of workers to file grievances on the matter
• Distribute leaflets about the dispute
• Circulate petitions
• Hold meetings during breaks
• Picket before or after work or during breaks (being sure not to interfere with employees, suppliers, or shippers) Also in the textbook, the example also states that the union retains the right to examine any existing or new subcontracting agreement for the purposes of checking wage scales and the specific work contracted.(text page389) These are great things we could put in the subcontracting section of the labor agreement. Also in the subcontracting section in the labor agreement, I think the union should also ask that limitations be put in place such as: 1. Requiring the employer to have an agreement that subcontractors will be used only on special occasions ( where specialized equipment that isn’t on company premises is required or where special skills are needed )
2. No-layoff guarantees to current employees (as in “no employee of any craft, which craft is being utilized by an outside contractor, shall be laid off as long as the outside contractor is in the plant doing work that employees in such craft are able to do.” 3. Provisions giving the union veto power over any or all subcontracting 4. Requirements that the management prove to the union that time, expense, or facility considerations prevent it from allowing current employees to perform the work. (text page388)
The Local 5000 Union Demands:
After reading the Mock Negotiation the union decided on the following demands mainly on the issues raised in the negotiation. The union has developed the following demands concerning the Mock Negotiation at Auto Products Corporation for the Indianapolis plant: 1. The union will not permit any change in the medical insurance program. The union wants to fight for better benefit packages, which would include a 401K and also better medical insurances. In the current contract, the medical insurance program does not cover employees that are laid off for more than 30 consecutive days and 80% of the employees laid off, have been laid off for longer than 30 consecutive days.
We would like to ask that management remove this and also; still cover the employee’s on layoff, visits to physician offices, hospitals, and emergency rooms up to 60 days. 2. The union would also like to ask the company add a 401k, the union would ask that the company match dollar for dollar what the employees decide to put into their 401k.This will help employees’ retirement. We would also like to administer an Employee Stock Ownership Program which entitles employees’ 5 shares of company stock yearly. 3. The union would also like to stick with the current seniority clause that provides for promotions based on length of service and ability. If the company says that promotions are bid for on a departmental basis then the department that has the position open should be available to the candidate within the company that has seniority based on length of service and ability before a junior employee. 4. The union would also like to discuss the current contract about required overtime.
The union insists on paying employees time-and-a-half while working these days and insisting that the company use a volunteer method when selecting the employees to work on these days. 5. I think that the union should also place a restriction on the company’s right to subcontract. No subcontracting can occur when skilled trades are available to do the work. When the company contemplates contracting out any type of work normally performed by a company employee, it shall inform the President, Chairman, and Grievance Committee and the affected Shop Steward of its intentions prior to making a decision to honor the contract; allowing the company to subcontract only if, all of their own personal resources have been exhausted. 6. As part of the union, I would also like recommend placing demands on management to allow for a supplementary unemployment benefit program to help dislocated workers.
The first is supplementing the unemployment benefits of various state unemployment insurance systems. Second is allowing further income to still unemployed workers after state payments have been exhausted. Without sub pay, laid off workers will start looking for new employment and will most likely be unavailable to return to their original position when an opening occurs. We would also like to remind you that a sub pay clause can catch the attention of the most talented people looking for jobs, people like to work for companies that take care of their employees. Also asking management to supplement the union employee’s unemployment benefits (while laid off through no fault of their own) and allow for up to 90% of their original pay for a maximum of 52 weeks’. 7. I would like to recommend the union demand the removal of the no-strike clause because grievance procedures in some cases seem to not work like they should. I believe a strike or slowdown might help convince management that something needs to change.
8. The union would also like an annual wage increase for all workers along with adjusting the escalator clause in the current contract. The current contract provides for a $.03 increase in wages for each .4-point increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). We as the union ask that the company provides a $0.10 increase in wages for each 0.5-point increase in the CPI. I feel these demands were adequate for negotiations because these demands will benefit our employees and fix the problems that are going on at the plant. Although not all were agreed on the only demand that didn’t even get a second look would be adding a supplemental unemployment benefits for dislocated workers. Which I understand this is due to APC’s current costs due to the current loan the company has just borrowed.
The Bargaining Zone:
Going into this negotiation the union, in all, knew that APC would try and change the medical benefits for their employees. Our demand states that we weren’t going to accept any change to the medical benefits but our plan was to ask for this and negotiate in permitting the company to only pay 80% of medical costs throughout the new contract. Management and the union chairperson, Ziaria, agreed that the company pay for 65% of medical costs throughout the course of the new contract. Our final result was close to what we were original to in the first place so I’d say we accomplished what we wanted in the bargaining zone for this demand. Another demand in which we knew that management would counter on would be the current No-Strike Clause in the current contract. The union requested that this clause be removed and management wouldn’t accept this claiming “Auto Product Corporation is a production company.
Feasibly, we are not able to produce the volumes of quality parts for our vendors when the company is being disrupted with strikes and work slowdowns. Our Local unions file grievances for their members and they go through the process. The contract contains a standard grievance procedure and provide for arbitration for all disputes arising under the contract. The company, with the help of its 3800 employees wants to remain vital to the community, vendors and families of our employees; we can only be effective, if we are producing quality parts.” But, the entire time, the union knew this wasn’t going to work and Paul had mentioned a No-Sue section to be added which management had no problem with. Our bargaining limits on this were accomplished with ease considering management said they had no problem adding this as long as the union was not directly involved or instigating a strike or slowdown.
The Negotiation Process:
Overall I would have to say that the negotiation process was somewhat difficult in the beginning because management was unsatisfied with our demands refusing pretty much all of them. I feel like the union was more willing to negotiate but that could be because our goal was the employees and the managements goal was reducing costs. For example, the union and management went back and forth on decreasing the amount of stewards to job families, trying to reduce stewards from having 60 to 20 and decreasing the amount of time they have to do grievance work daily. The union and management also went back and forth on non-productive time. Management wanted employees to clock out for lunch and then only have a 5 minute paid wash up at the end of their shift. The union agreed on clocking out for lunch but wanted to keep the 10 minute wash up and management wouldn’t accept this until the very end of negotiations. Besides these two matters, the negotiation process went rather smoothly.
My personal thoughts:
There are things that I wish would have went differently. For example, my teammates should’ve contributed more to discussions. I feel as though I was constantly waiting on a response from them and more than half the time I would only hear from Paul and as I discussed earlier he would respond mainly with “I agree” which gives me no other viewpoints or if I should have done things differently. Or, the would respond after deadlines to where I couldn’t change anything. Then, Ziaria, not being in hardly any of our discussions goes in the boardroom and conducts negotiations without even consulting with me or Paul. I understand though that you can’t always choose your teammates.
Before conducting these negotiations I went into this thinking I wanted to be on a management team because I have always had this view of unions being dramatic. Instead, my views now are more pro-union because this negotiation has taught me that unions are there for your rights as an employee. When management tries to change the contract, you as an employee, should want the union there to try and get the best possible outcomes for all employees because management is just going to try and cut costs any way they can. Overall I found this project to be interesting and informative on the things that actual companies negotiate on.
“The Mock Negotiation Problem.” Sloane, Arthur A., Witney, Fred. Labor Relations. Prentice Hall- Pearson Education, 2012. 435-440. Work Rights Press. How to Win Past Practice Grievances. n.d. 16 November 2012 <http://www.workrightspress.com/pastprach1.html>.