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Part S Leading and Supporting Employees ,#

When contract talks broke down


between grocery workers and major ..~
.
grocery chains in Southern California, ~
the result was a strike that lasted four ! j

and a half months.

!II Publicity.Increasingly,labor is pressingits caseby launching publicitycampaigns,


often called corporate campaigns, against a target company and companies affili-
ated with it. For example, the Service Employees International Union is active in
vVal-Mart Watch (www.walmartwatch.com). one of a number of publicity cam-
paigns that seek to educate the public about the policies and practices of the retail
giant.82

From its side, management can use a number of legal methods to pressure unions
when negotiations stall:

!fJ Strikebreakers. VVhenunion members walk off their jobs, management can legally
strikebreakers replace them with strikebreakers, nonunion workers hired to do the jobs of striking
Nonunion workers hired to replace workers. (Union members brand them as "scabs.")
striking workers
!Ii Lockouts. Management's counterpart to a strike is a lockout, in which the company
lockout prevents union employees from entering the workplace in order to pressure the
Management tactic in which union union. Lockouts are legal only if the union and management have come to an
members are prevented from impasse in negotiations and the employer is defending a legitimate bargaining posi-
entering a business during a strike tion. During a lockout, the company may hire temporary replacements as long as it
has no antiunion motivation and negotiations have been amicable.83
injunction II! Injunctions. An injunction is a court order prohibiting union workers from taking
Court order prohibiting certain certain actions. Injunctions are legal only in certain cases. For example, the presi-
actions by striking workers dent of the United States has the right, under the Taft-Hartley Act, to obtain a tem-
porary injunction to halt a strike deemed harmful to the national interest, such as a
wide-scale transportation strike.
"
The labor Movement Today
In certain industries, including transportation, retailing, and manufacturing, unions
remain a significant force in employee-management relations in the United States. But
overall, union membership has declined, from more than a third of the workfor.cein the
1950s to less than 15 percent today.84True to the often combative nature of the relation-
ship, each side blames organized labor's decline on the other. Some business leaders say
unions don't have anything relevant to offer workers in to day's environment of more
Chapter 14 Human Resources

The Collective Bargaining Process labor federation


Umbrella organization of national
In the collective bargaining process (see Exhibit 14.8), union and management unions and unaffiliated local unions
negotiators work together to forge the policies that will apply to all employees cov- that undertakes large-scale activities
ered by a given contract. In some cases, the two sides can gradually compromise on on behalf of their members and that
key points until they rea'ch an overall agreement, If negotiations reach an impasse, resolves conflicts between unions
outside help may be needed. The most common alternative is mediation-bringing collective bargaining
in an impartial third party to study the situation and make recommendations for res- Process used by unions and manage-
olution of the differences. However, mediators can only offer suggestions, and their ment to negotiate work contracts
solutions are not binding. When a legally binding settlement is needed, the negotia- mediation
tors may submit to arbitration-a process in which an impartial referee listens to
Process for resolving a labor-contract
-< both sides and then makes a judgment by accepting one side's view. In compulsory dispute in which a neutral third party
arbitration, the parties are required by a government agency to submit to arbitration; meets with both sides and attempts
in voluntary arbitration, the parties agree on their own to use arbitration to settle to steer them toward a solution
- their differences.
arbitration
When negotiation, mediation, and arbitration can't bring the parties together,
Process for resolving a labor-
both labor and management are able to draw on several powerful options in an contract dispute in which an
attempt to force resolution. Labor's options include strikes, boycotts, and publicity impartial third party studies the
campaigns: issues and makes a binding decision
strike
!1!i1
Strikes. The most powerful weapon that organized labor can use is the strike, a tem-
Temporary work stoppage by
porary work stoppage aimed at forcing management to accept union demands. An
employees who want management
essential part of any strike is picketing, in which union members positioned at to accept their union's demands
entrances to company premises march back and forth with signs and leaflets, trying
to persuade nonstriking employees to join them and to persuade customers to stop picketing
doing business with the cOmpany.Two less-drastic actions are slowdowns, in which Strike activity in which lillion mem-
bers march before company entrances
employees continue to do their jobs but at a slow enough pace to disrupt opera-
to communicate their grjevancesand
tions, and sickouts, in which a high number of employees call in sick at the same to discourage people from doing
time.
business .'lith the company
iii Boycotts. A less direct union weapon is the boycott, in which union members and boycott
sympathizers refuse to buy or handle the product of a target company. In fact, the Union activity in which members and
AFL-CIO (www.unionlabel.org) maintains a page on its website that lists compa- sympathizers refuse to buy or handle
nies it would like consumers to boycott. the product of a target company

EXHIBIT 14.8 The Collective Bargaining Process


Contract negotiations go through the four basic steps shown here.

Preparing to meet
Union negotiating
team determines
needs of its members.
Meanwhile, management
tries to anticipate the
union's.demands and
decides what it is willing
to offer.
;