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Labor Relations

Labor Relations


In the scenario. The numbered, brown font shows when you need to respond. Directions for each question are
given at that time.
NOTE: Assume that all legal notifications to government offices for contract negotiations met the required
TIP: You may want to create a timeline for the events to help you understand the issues.
For XYZ Union For RST Company
Chief Negotiator/team leader = Bill Sharp
Grievance Chairperson
Shop Steward
Shop Steward #2 = Ravi
Rank & File
Strike Replacements: Marley, Juan, Rich, Frank
Grieving Employee = Barbara Stone
Vice President of Finance (VPF)
HR Director
Labor Relations Specialist = Paula
The president of the XYZ union (Union) convened a special meeting of the members to discuss the new
contract with its private-sector employer, the RST company (Company). Bill Sharp, the union’s chief negotiator,
stepped to the front of the room.
“Let me begin by saying that our negotiating team has been well prepared for this bargaining. We’ve known
that it would not be an easy task and have anticipated the major issues. We’ve been meeting twice a week at
the table for the last two months and have secured several of the demands that you wanted, such as standard
2-shift, advanced scheduling.
Delores, who plans to retire soon, interrupted: “What did they do for the retirees? The retirees didn’t get a
single increase in their pension benefits over the last three years. They should get a at least a 5% bump to help
them keep up with inflation.”
Bill replied: “Just like 3 years ago, the company has again refused to negotiate about that; so, no, we’re still
working on it. When we have a complete contract that is ready for ratification, we’ll go over all of the provisions
with you. For tonight, we need to talk to you about an impasse.”
As the murmurs in the room subsided, Bill shifted his body weight to his other leg and leaned toward the group.
“At this point in the process, we’re negotiating the critical elements—keeping the work at our site if they open a
new location and health care benefits. The work-to-rule days we had and the informational picketing we
already tried were useful, but they are still digging in their heels on both of these important issues. We’re not 
likely to have a new contract agreed upon when our existing contract expires at the end of this month. We need
to start building for a strike. That means work all the overtime you can now and start saving. We’ll have to get a
campaign going in the shop, but also talk about a press and customer strategy. But at the end of the day, I
think we’ll need to strike the company if we’re going to get them to give us a fair contract. You know striking
isn’t the way most contracts are settled, but we need to prepare for the possibility. Tonight, we need to hear
your questions and comments. Remember that anything said in this meeting should stay here; we don’t want to
tip them off about our plans plus the information could change during the rest of the process.”
Here are questions the rank and file asked that evening. You need to provide the answer to each one. Write
concisely, limiting the answer to each to a maximum of one-half page. Use the specific statutory provisions,
terms and concepts covered in this course to support your analysis. Use APA to reference any borrowed
1. If we do strike, I heard the company can hire new people to do our work. Will I lose my job?
2. I have a family and bills to pay. I heard there is a strike fund. Where does that money come from?
After another 3 weeks of negotiation, all of the issues had been settled except for the following items. Several
proposals crossed the bargaining table from both sides. The most recent ones were:
Union Recognition clause
Company’s proposal = The company recognizes the Union as the sole and exclusive bargaining representative
of all production, maintenance, and product control employees in the New York facilities. This excludes office
and clerical employees, technical employees, sales staff, professionals, and security staff. Supervisors, as
defined by the National Labor Relations Act, are also excluded.
Union’s proposal = Remove “New York” from the company’s paragraph.
Management Right’s clause
Company’s proposal = The Union recognizes that management has full and sole rights to direct the workforce,
including the right to hire, transfer, discipline, suspend or discharge employees. It includes the right to
determine working hours, to assign overtime, to modify jobs, and to transfer work to any other company
location or to subcontract work.
Union’s proposal = The Union recognizes that management has full and sole rights to direct the workforce,
including the right to hire, transfer, discipline, suspend or discharge employees. It includes the right to
determine working hours, to assign overtime, and to modify jobs. Exercising these management rights cannot
violate any other term of this contract.
The union also proposes to add this provision in the contract: Reassignment of Work
Work that is transferred to any other company location or subcontracted must be offered first to the New York
employees. If the first-refusal offer is not made, the company will pay both the NY employees and the workers
who perform the work for the time. If the NY employees decline the offer, no penalty will apply.
Health care premiums
Company’s proposal = Employees will pay 20% of their health care premiums in the second and third years of
the contract.
Union’s proposal = The company will pay 100% of the health care premiums in all years of the contract.
The president of the union, who is planning to run for re-election next year, scheduled a meeting with the
union’s negotiation team leader, Bill.
President: So what are we going to do? What are the options?
Bill: They won’t budge on these. We think they’re planning to open a new facility in a RTW state. If we don’t
have protection of our jobs, they will shift the work there and we’ll eventually disappear. We have to raise the
President: Can we file an unfair labor practice claim with the Board about how they are refusing to negotiate?
3. Bill looks to you for guidance. In a short paragraph, explain whether this is a good strategy. Under what
provision would that be done? What is the likelihood that the union would win a case about the company’s
bargaining conduct? Why? Write concisely, limiting the answer to a maximum of one-half page. Use the
specific statutory provisions, terms and concepts covered in this course to support your analysis. Use APA to
reference any borrowed material.
At the same time, the Vice President of Finance for the company, who has a bonus clause in his performance
plan which is based on cost reduction, meets with Paula, the Labor Relations Specialist who is leading the
company’s negotiations.
VPF: So where are we now?
Paula: Down to the final wire. They might not have reached their resistance point and still be willing to discuss
the health care cost, but they are adamant about any language that suggests we could assign their work
elsewhere. I’m pretty sure they are preparing for a strike.
VPF: Can they do that? I thought it was illegal.
4. Paula has explained strikes to the VPF before but realizes that it can be hard to remember which ones are
legal and which are not. Briefly explain again whether this particular strike is legal and why. Write concisely,
limiting the answer to a maximum of one-half page. Use the specific statutory provisions, terms and concepts
covered in this course to support your analysis. Use APA to reference any borrowed material.
VPF: Well, what is our Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement? BATNA, isn’t that the right word? What
else can we do?
Paula: Yes, it is. Legally, in our circumstances, we likely can unilaterally implement our last proposal. As soon
as we do, however, the picket line will go up.
VPF: Is that horrible?
Paula: The operation managers tell me we’ll have trouble filling our orders. Even strike replacements, which is
a major effort to put in place, won’t be a total solution since they don’t know the work. Some of the jobs have a
long learning curve. We’ll need to bolster security measures to minimize the chances of physical damage to
property and people. Then, there is the media. When we’re trying to expand our operations and convince the
county to give us tax breaks, bad press won’t help. And, there may be damage to our long-term relationship
that could result in costly grievances throughout the life of the contract.
VPF: Well then? We have to get a handle on these constant overtime costs. They are blowing the budget every
quarter. Shifting the work to a lower-cost option is essential. 

of this Agreement, September 1, 2017. Striking employees shall be returned to work, to openings in the
classifications occupied by an employee on May 31, 2017, in accordance with his/her respective seniority.
In addition to the above agreed upon language, the Company proposed that the Strike Settlement Agreement
contain the following section (Paragraph 2), to which the union objected:
2. Jobs filled by employees hired by the Company on or after August 6, 2017 as strike replacements (new
hires) for striking employees shall not be considered vacancies to which returning strikers shall be returned
unless and until such jobs are vacated by the strike replacements. Such new hires shall not be bumped or
displaced by the return of strikers. Such newly hired employees shall become members of the Union as stated
in the collective bargaining agreement and their respective seniority shall be measured from their individual
hire date.
Because the parties did not agree to the Company’s proposal concerning Paragraph 2, the parties determined
that while Paragraph 2 would physically remain in the printed Agreement, the following marginal notation would
be added reflecting the parties’ failure to agree to this particular provision. This marginal note read:
Paragraph 2 represents the position of the Company and is not agreed to by the Union or waived by the
During the plan to resume normal operations, the company determined that it had too many workers in the first
level positions. It terminated 10 of the strike replacements since they were no longer needed.
On September 12, Marley, Juan, and Rich, three of the ten terminated strike replacements, made an
appointment with the union’s Grievance Chairperson (GC) to file a complaint.
GC: You need to speak with the Shop Steward first.
Marley: We tried. He wouldn’t listen to us—kept calling us “scabby.”
GC: What is the problem then?
Marley: I was fired yesterday. HR told me last week that this would be a permanent job. I’m entitled to some
GC, looking at Juan: What about you?
Juan: Me, too. I’ve been fired.
GC: When were you terminated?
Juan: Two days ago.
GC: Why were you fired?
Juan: One of the strikers was recalled, so I was pushed out.
GC: Wasn’t that the arrangement when you hired in?
Juan: Then they said they would see if they could keep me.
GC, turning to Rich: What about you?
Rich: I was fired on August 31. They told me I’d have the job after the strike was over. I asked that in the
interview because I had another part-time job offer closer to home. I was going to take that instead if this job
didn’t last very long.
GC: Ok, I understand. I need to pull together a couple things. I’ll call you tomorrow to let you know what, if
anything, we can do about getting your jobs back.
The next morning, the Grievance Chairperson received a visit from another strike replacement
GC: What seems to be the problem?
Frank: I heard that you might be able to get my job back.
GC: When were you fired?
Frank: August 29 was my last day.
GC: Why were you fired? 
Frank: I’m not sure. They indicated that the work ran out, but I heard one of the strikers took over the job again.
GC: What did they tell you when they hired you?
Frank: Nothing really. They just said they needed someone right away.
The Grievance Chairperson collected all his notes and pulled the new contractual documents out of his file
drawer. He flipped the pages and ran his finger down the paragraphs. He tagged the union shop arrangement:
Article II
Section 1 Any employee who is a member of the Union on the effective date of this Agreement shall, as a
condition of employment, maintain his/her membership in the Union to the extent of tendering uniform initiation
fees (if any) and periodic dues.
Section 2 Any person hired as a new employee and any employee who is hereafter transferred into the
bargaining unit on or after the effective date of this Agreement shall, as a condition of employment, become a
member of the Union (to the extent of tendering uniform initiation fees (if any) and periodic dues) on and after
the thirty-first day following the date of employment or transfer, and shall maintain such membership in the
He also earmarked:
Article 13 – Section 3
Management has the sole right to discipline employees according to the progressive process described in
Section 5 and to discharge employees for just cause.
Article 13 – Section 4
Causes for immediate discharge are: possession or use of drugs or alcohol on company property, theft or
damage of company property, workplace violence, and any other threat to the safety of the facilities and
He also checked with the union’s Secretary/Treasurer to learn the status of the workers’ dues. He was told the
Dues Status
Marley Paid on September 3
Juan Not paid
Rich Paid August 20
Frank Not paid
#6 –9 – After preliminary investigation, the Grievance Chairperson finds that the information about the
termination dates each man gave seems accurate. Use the information gathered in the meetings, the contract
provisions, and the record of dues as well as specific statutory provisions, terms and concepts covered in this
course, to identify which, if any, of them is entitled to retain employment and whether the union is legally
obligated to represent him in a grievance to restore his job. The chart should help you organize the information
you need. For your answer, briefly state and explain the response you would give to each of them. The chart is
just to help you organize your thinking.
Was he illegally terminated? Why? Legally, must the union represent him? Why?
6. Marley
7. Juan
8. Rich
9. Frank
It was a busy week for the Grievance Chairperson. Another Shop Steward, Ravi, made an appointment to
discuss a grievance he couldn’t resolve with the employee’s supervisor, Paul Hawkman.
GC: Hi, Ravi. I saw the grievance form for Barbara Stone. Isn’t she the woman who held the picket sign in the
County Courier’s front page coverage of the strike?
Ravi: Yes, she is. Nice photo. The paper used a fair shot this time.
GC: Well, what about this? In the first step, what did they tell you?
Ravi: Hawkman took over from Dick Fleming when he retired. I don’t know why they appointed him. He hasn’t
been with the company very long; he has no experience working with unions is what I hear. When I talked to
him, he was arrogant—said he was fully within his rights to dismiss her.
GC: So what happened? What does Barbara say?
Ravi: Barbara had borrowed a company moving dolly. She said Dick had given her permission to use it. She
was relocating across town and needed it to move some boxes to her new house. The dolly was in the back of
her Chevy truck in the parking lot. It was covered up, for protection, but the handle, with the company tag, was
sticking out. Hawkman saw it when he came to work. He couldn’t find any written permission slip on file for her
to have it. Barbara said Dick didn’t ask for one this time. She had used it before to help with a community food
drive that both she and Dick had volunteered to assist. She was bringing it back but just hadn’t unloaded it yet.
Hawkman said she was stealing it and fired her.
The GC pulled out the contractual provisions for termination again. He also flipped to the section about
company property. It read:
Article 17 – Section 8
Employees in good standing may occasionally borrow non-essential company equipment, provided they
complete the authorization form and have it signed by their supervisor. A specific timeframe must be stipulated
and failure to return the property in good condition by that deadline will be grounds for reprimand.
GC: How long has she been here? What does her performance record look like?
Ravi: About 2 years. Dick wasn’t one to record an issue unless it was something really serious. So, there isn’t
anything during his time. Hawkman has marked her for being late twice in the last month, but there isn’t any
formal warning.
10. In the meantime, Paul Hawkman has come to see the HR Director about the matter. He hands over the
paperwork for her termination. By addressing Hawkman and the GC separately, explain how the Director
should handle this case and why. Write concisely and limit your response to a maximum of 1 page for both




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