Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations
By Terry Leap
Summary written by Conflict Research Consortium Staff
Citation: Leap, Terry. Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1995, 752 pp.
Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations is a college-level text which explores the history and current practice of union-management relations, and collective bargaining.
Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations will be of interest to those who seek a better understanding of contemporary labor relations, and of the role of unions in collective bargaining. This work is divided into eighteen chapters grouped into eight parts. Each chapter ends with discussion questions and exercises.
Part One introduces collective bargaining and labor relations. Chapter One presents an overview of labor relations. The author recounts the origins and purposes of unions. He describes three levels of union-management interaction: contract negotiations, contract administration, and informal joint consultations. He also examines the impact of collective bargaining on employers, employees, and society. Chapter two recounts the U.S. history of collective bargaining and labor relations.
The second part focuses on establishing the collective bargaining relationship. Chapter Three explains the legal bases of collective bargaining, describing federal labor acts from the Railway Labor Act of 1926 to the present. Chapter Four focuses on the bargaining unit. The author begins by explaining the doctrine of exclusive representation. He presents the National Labor Relations Board criteria for determining appropriate bargaining units, and describes several common bargaining unit structures. Finally, the formation of bargaining units is further explored via four case studies. Chapter Five then describes the union organization process. The author describes the factors which prompt interest in unionization, and the process of unionization campaigns including the formal certification process.
Part Three describes the organizational structures, goals and policies for collective bargaining of unions and of management. The author first examines unions. He reviews the organization and concerns of the AFL-CIO, of international unions and of local unions. This chapter also investigates unions as democratic institutions, and unions relation to organized crime. This chapter concludes by describing typical union goals in collective bargaining. Chapter Seven turns its attention to management, opening with the basic goals and strategies of the management. Differences between unionized and non-unionized firms are explored. The author describes strategies for balancing power between unions and management, and for creating cooperative efforts between union and management.
Part Four explores the collective bargaining process. Chapter Eight presents an overview of a number of bargaining theories, and compares them giving particular attention to the points the have in common. Drawing upon these theories, the author presents a model of collective bargaining power and bargaining tactics, and suggests techniques for evaluating collective bargaining outcomes. Chapter Nine takes a more practical approach, focusing on collective bargaining preparation, tactics, and issues. The chapter opens with an overview of the stages of the bargaining process. It then describes the preparation stage in greater detail. The chapter closes with discussion of the strategies and tactics appropriate at various stages of the bargaining process.
Part Five focuses on two types of disputes which arise within the collective bargaining process: interest disputes and rights disputes. Chapter ten discusses interest disputes. It opens with a discussion of the role and sources of conflict in labor-management relations, and explores the role of mediation in preventing labor disputes. Interests disputes may escalate into strikes or lockouts. The author describes several forms of labor strike, and discusses the federal regulation of strikes under the National Emergencies section of the Taft-Hartley Act. Chapters Eleven and Twelve focus on rights disputes. Rights disputes "arise over the interpretation of an existing collective bargaining agreement" The author describes the role of contract administration in labor relations, and investigates some of the sources of grievance in labor relations. He then describes the basic elements of grievance procedures, and closes by suggesting criteria for evaluating grievance procedures. Chapter Twelve examines the final stage of most grievance procedures: binding arbitration. The author describes the process of labor arbitration, from arbitrator selection to evaluation of final arbitration awards. This chapter also discusses common errors in arbitration, and suggests guidelines for determining which cases are appropriate for resolution through arbitration.
Part Six turns to the substantive provisions of negotiated labor agreements. Chapter Thirteen describes economic and compensation provisions of labor agreements. Such economic provisions include setting pay levels and pay structure, group or individual incentive programs, and sex discrimination compensation. The chapter closes with two case studies in compensation, and an appendix describing four major methods of job evaluation. Chapter Fourteen describes employee benefit programs. Such benefits include life, accidental death and health insurance, retiremen programs, vacations and leaves, and child- or elder-care. This chapter concludes with an appendix on calculating the cost of compensation and benefits packages. Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen consider institutional issues which are addressed in the collective bargaining agreement, exploring both management rights and employee security. The author discusses management rights, seniority arrangements, workplace health and safety, technological changes resulting in worker displacement, and the use of subcontracting and temporary labor. Chapter Sixteen focuses on employee discipline, discussing the sources and types of disciplinary problems, and forms of disciplinary policies and procedures.
Part Seven explores public sector labor relations. This section sketches the history of public- sector unions, and contrasts collective bargaining in the public-sector to private-sector bargaining. It then describes the collective bargaining process at the federal, state and local levels. This section closes with a case study of a public sector strike.
Part Eight concludes the text with an overview of future challenges facing collective bargaining and labor relations. Currently, unions are losing membership. Chapter Eighteen examines the causes for this decline, and outlines strategic choices for unions in the future.
Collective Bargaining and Labor Relations is a comprehensive yet accessible review of collective bargaining in contemporary labor relations. Questions and exercises at the end of each chapter provide helpful study tools.