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You will see a variety of roles in this case. You will be an external expert source. The questions
are embedded 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 deadlines.
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
Shop Steward #2 = Ravi
Rank & File
Strike Replacements: Marley, Juan, Rich,
Grieving Employee = Barbara Stone
Vice President of Finance (VPF)
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
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-torule 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 material.
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
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
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
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.
So what are we going to do? What are the options?
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 pressure.
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
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.
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.
Paula: We might invite a mediator from the FMCS to see if there is any wiggle room.
VPF: We had one decide the last contract dispute with one of our vendors. I wasn’t thrilled
with the answer, and we’re stuck with it. How can we make sure we don’t get stuck
with something we don’t want in this case?
5. Briefly answer the VPF’s concern. 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.
After four weeks of mediation without any significant change, the union members authorized
their leadership to call a strike. In a confidential ballot vote, stipulated by the union’s by-laws,
the decision was 95% for a strike and 5% against. The strike began on July 20. It was a peak
production period for the company, and the competition had become keen since global
corporations had entered the U.S. market. Believing any loss of market share would hurt the
company’s long-term financial status, the company had done some preparation for this
possibility. In addition to stockpiling more inventory, it had prepared to employ strike
replacements; and, on August 6, it hired 100 of them to cross the picket line to do the work of
the employees in the bargaining unit. “Scab!” the picketing employees yelled. Heckling and
jeers ensued each morning as the new employees went to work. Fists occasionally slugged the
air, but no physical violence occurred. Some replacements found the environment so hostile
that they quit. Local news reports began covering the dispute. Community leaders became
concerned that any loss of employment would hurt the tax base and stress the available social
services. The strike replacement workers were not as efficient yet at the tasks involved,
creating quality problems.
Eventually, the two sides found enough common ground to come to agreement. The union
negotiating team submitted the new contract to the membership for ratification. The Company
CEO issued a press release that said:
We are pleased to announce an agreement with the Union bargaining committee and
hope that all Union members will give this contract a full and fair consideration. These
were very tough negotiations. Both sides worked very hard and compromised. The result
is a very positive offer for the employees that also protects the long-term competitive
position of the Company.
The union members knew it was not exactly what they had demanded, but the strike fund was
depleting and people were tired after manning the picket line 24/7. The members voted by
75% to 25% to adopt the new agreement, which met the criteria in the union’s by-laws. Thus,
the new contract was ratified on September 1, 2017.
During the final stages of the strike the parties negotiated the conditions under which the
strikers might return to work. They agreed to the following language as part of a Strike
Settlement Agreement, which was signed the same day the new contract was ratified:
The strike against the Company by its employees who are members of the Union is
terminated as of the date 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
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 Company.
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.
You need to speak with the Shop Steward first.
We tried. He wouldn’t listen to us—kept calling us “scabby.”
What is the problem then?
I was fired yesterday. HR told me last week that this would be a
permanent job. I’m entitled to some protection.
GC, looking at Juan:
What about you?
Me, too. I’ve been fired.
When were you terminated?
Two days ago.
Why were you fired?
One of the strikers was recalled, so I was pushed out.
Wasn’t that the arrangement when you hired in?
Then they said they would see if they could keep me.
GC, turning to Rich:
What about you?
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.
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
What seems to be the problem?
I heard that you might be able to get my job back.
When were you fired?
August 29 was my last day.
Why were you fired?
I’m not sure. They indicated that the work ran out, but I heard one of the
strikers took over the job again.
What did they tell you when they hired you?
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:
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.
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 workforce.
He also checked with the union’s Secretary/Treasurer to learn the status of the workers’ dues.
He was told the following:
Paid on September 3
Paid August 20
#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.
Write concisely, limiting the total answer for all 4 to a maximum of one page. Use APA to
reference any borrowed material.
Was he illegally
Why? Legally, must the union represent
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
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?
Yes, she is. Nice photo. The paper used a fair shot this time.
Well, what about this? In the first step, what did they tell you?
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.
So what happened? What does Barbara say?
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.
How l …
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