Understanding The Dynamics of Collective Bargaining, Strikes, and Disciplinary Processes

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 2150 |

Pages: 5|

11 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Words: 2150|Pages: 5|11 min read

Published: Feb 13, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Negotiation and Strike Process
  2. Disciplinary Process and Unions
  3. Conclusion

When collective bargaining negotiations fail, the result can be a devastating strike. The strike can be detrimental to a company and be very costly. For example, in 1988, the Writers Guild of America strike lasted five months. Even though it was only for a short amount of time, the company lost 0 million in revenues and wages (Shonk, 2018). In 1944 the Major League Baseball also took a huge hit. The players’ strike not only cancelled a whole season, but the owners and players lost a significant amount of money not only that season, but for a couple to follow (Shonk, 2018). It’s obvious that a strike can cost a lot of money, and therefore, it’s pivotal the board members of Purse Industries not only understand the processes and practices behind a strike, but to understand what causes the employees to do such and that this can be crucial in saving the organization.

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Negotiation and Strike Process

Often times, the parties involved make one-sided decisions because they have concluded that any negotiation will only result to a dead end. This is why dispute resolution strategies are important and will help not only for the short-term, but in the long-term in terms of resolution of conflict. When one first hears of employees planning a strike, it’s important for management to demonstrate interest in building harmony and exploring options together. Pon Staff (2018) recommends refusing a limit on the number of topics under discussion because this will likely improve the chances of uncovering tradeoffs that will satisfy both sides (Staff, 2018).

In order for management to acknowledge the possibility of strike, they have to be able to recognize the signs one might occur. An array of factors can cause strikes and for parties to be unable to reach any type of agreement in collective bargaining negotiations. For example, overconfidence can lead the involved parties to believe their cases are stronger than they truly are and underestimating the other side’s disposition to stand firm. If a side doubts the other side, then a strike can become even more enticing. When the other side is explaining their side, it’s vital to take the other party’s perspective and hear them out. Way too often, many assume they understand the other side and what they truly want. If this is too difficult or one is too biased, it’s possible to get an outside opinion. Third parties can aid when collective bargaining negotiations get heated. The third party can help for the parties to have rationality and impartiality. Before a strike takes place, the party can seek advice from an adviser, such as an industry expert (Shonk, 2018). This adviser can help critique the plans and also offer different alternatives.

Katie Shonk (2018) explains another method for defusing a strike. She explains that it’s possible for one to make a “virtual” strike. Shonk proceeds to explains how in the 1944 baseball strike, Harvard Business professors Michael Wheeler and James K. Sebenius offered a solution. Wheeler and Sebenius recommended to resume the Major League Baseball season, but to not allow the owners or the players to collect any revenue or pay. Instead, allow these funds to be put into an escrow account and to only be dispersed after the dispute is settled. The funds would rapidly accumulate and therefore motivate both parties to reach a deal. This virtual strike clause in contracts during collective bargaining negotiations, allows unions and management to create a situation in which strikes would not be able to destroy long-term value to either side involved (Shonk, 2018).

Disciplinary Process and Unions

The supervisor personnel is in charge of correcting any behavioral issues and that employees are abiding by the employee handbook. Discipline should never be used as a way to embarrass or even punish an employee. Instead, it should be used as constructive criticism and only meant to change unwanted behavior. Many times, by using a more positive reinforcement, discipline will not have to be conducted. Unfortantely, however, bad behavior can still occur management may have to enforce some type of discipline to get a different behavior or action to take place. Discipline should always be in writing and can consist of an array of different written letters of warning, suspension, or even discharge. Management should never make an employee do unpleasant tasks or deny or change their work schedule as a way of discipline.

Misconduct can consist of a long list of things. For example, failure to call-in or foul language within the workplace, or failure to abide by the rules and regulations set forth in the handbook. This can consist of not following proper dress code or failing to follow the proper cash handling procedure. The ones mentioned are just a few examples. The question management or supervisory personnel have to ask themselves is if the employer has “just cause” to discipline.

When deciding if the proper course of action is being taken and whether discipline is necessary, the management team should also question the following factors: was the rule clear for employee to understand? For example, was the rule explained before the violation occurred? Secondly, did the leader ensure the rule was enforced both fairly and consistently?

Management should also consider severity of the offense and if the employee not only admits to misbehavior, but if an apology was ever said. It’s evident that there are numerous questions management must question and answer before deciding which route to appropriately take (“Discipline in the Workplace,” n.d.).

Once the previous questions and have been answered and management determines that discipline is the course of action needed, the discipline process will occur and even though the process can happen over a long period of time and include numerous events, it has two stages. The first stage is called the investigation. Many consider this the most important part of the process. During this stage, the manager should collect information that may consist of witness statements, interviewing witness involved or part of the incident, and most importantly, interviewing the employee involved in the misconduct (“Discipline in the Workplace,” n.d.). The interview with the employee is absolutely vital to the investigation and plays a huge role in the decision management makes in issuing discipline. Even if a lot of evidence exists, an interview should still be conducted. If an employee is exhibiting bad behavior, they should be given the chance to explain their situation and themselves.

Investigations should be fair. This is important because in an unionized workplace, employees have the chance to grieve any discipline that is issued to them. An arbitrator could eventually examine the grieved discipline and look into whether it was fair or not. For this reason, extra precaution should be taken to ensure one is not biased or unfair. For example, when conducting an investigation, another member of management could come along and conduct the interview together. This ensures that both managers understood the responses and did not alter the response in any manner (“Discipline in the Workplace,” n.d.). When interviewing, one should also talk to as many witnesses as possible. This helps management imagine the scene or incident that occurred. If possible, it is best to request a written statement and answers to questions from as many individuals as possible (“Discipline in the Workplace,” n.d.).

It’s apparent that a paper trail is crucial. Written documentation proves statements and also provides not only a date and time, but that if investigation were to be lengthy, a chance for one to be correctly reminded. A lot of documentary evidence can be used in order to show support of evidence of misconduct. This can include financial records, phone records, computer records, e-mails or even time cards (“Discipline in the Workplace,” n.d.). Therefore, anyone and everyone in management should always remember to properly document, document, document!

Once the interview has been conducted, results analyzed and facts verified, the decision to discipline can be made. It’s often best if the decision be made after discussion with other people in management and discussing specifics with the Human Resource Department.

Factors such as an employee’s length of employment, their past record, and even the severity of the incident should be considered. Any discipline rendered should be documented clearly and concisely and only after the proper steps have been thoroughly conducted (“Discipline in the Workplace,” n.d.).

Mediator vs. arbitrator. A mediator would suffice for Purse Industries. Having a neutral third party listen to both sides and facilitate negotiations should be enough for Purse Industries and the employees to hopefully come to some type of agreement regarding the working conditions and the ‘unfair’ disciplinary process. This would also be fair because it gives both parties the chance to share their side and their point-of-view. The mediator will also meet with both parties (separately) and point out any weaknesses that may exist. The main goal in mediation is to make the parties aware of the benefit of coming together and coming to an agreement instead of taking it to trial and only hoping to achieve the best possible day in court. The mediator will see what each party hopes to achieve and what the other party has to offer and then will meet with the other party and explain the offer (“Arbitration vs. Mediation,” 2019). Continually going back and forth will finally reach some type of agreement or the parties will recognize that there may be no resolution possible. However, if an agreement is hopefully reached, the agreement will be put down on paper and each party will have to sign. If any part of the agreement is violated by either party, it will cause of action for breach of contract. It’s important to also note that before any signatures and finalizing, any agreement reached during mediation is non-binding. Meaning, if either party were to change their mind or decide that the settlement is not enough, etc., then they can insist on continuing to trial. Furthermore, if the employer and employee reach no type of settlement, the mediator will then declare an impasse and the case will proceed to trial (“Mediation,” 2015).

In short, mediation allows both parties to explain their view points. The mediator has no vested interest other than seeing both parties come to some type of agreement, therefore it seems to be the most beneficial and effective. From a money aspect, arbitration is also more on the expensive side. All in all, for this particular case, this seems to be the best choice for Purse Industries at this time.

Labor laws. The National Labor Relations Act prohibits employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining, or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining processes. Likewise, labor organizations may not restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of these rights. Examples of employer conduct that violates the law are: threatening to close the organization if the employees choose a union to represent them or threatening employees with discharge of loss of benefits if they join or vote for a union. The following are examples that Purse Industries need to understand carefully and understand that doing so is in violating of the National Labor Relations Act and violates the law (“Employer/Union Rights and Obligations,” n.d.).

If employers were to choose a union as a bargaining representative, both the employer and the union are required to meet and bargain in good faith regarding wages, hours, vacation time, safety practices, etc. It’s considered unfair labor practice for either party to refuse to bargain collectively. Yet, parties are not required to reach any type of agreement with one another. After adequate good faith efforts have been taken and no agreement can be reached, the employer can declare an impasse and then take the last offer presented to the union. However, the union has the right to disagree that a true impasse has been reached and file a charge of an unfair labor practice for failure to bargain in good faith. It is up to the National Labor Relations Board to decide if a true impasse was reached based on the negotiations and understandings of either party (“Employer/Union Rights and Obligations,” n.d.).

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Purse Industries not go into this one-sided. It’s vital for the board members to carefully listen to the complaints and arguments given by the employers. Purse Industries must also realize how a strike works and understand the laws and policies to follow. If the industry goes into this not only considering their viewpoint, it may be cheaper on the company as a whole and create a long-term agreement. However, if this is not possible, or if an agreement cannot be reached, it’s pivotal Purse Industries carefully considers filing an impasse and going to trial will be the next option. From a money aspect, it may be the best possible option to have a mediator and avoid going to trial while giving each party the opportunity to share their viewpoints and have a neutral third-party help come to an agreeable outcome.  

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Understanding the Dynamics of Collective Bargaining, Strikes, and Disciplinary Processes. (2024, February 13). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 13, 2024, from
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