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Case Study: Collective Bargaining at West University Essay

1. Employees decide to form a union to gain job security and higher wages or when they feel management is not doing their job correctly or fairly. The labor laws are in place that provides rights to unionize. I am not convinced they encourage, but they provide a protection to workers who feel they need the support of the union. The National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (Wagner Act) basically provides employees the right to unionize.

When under a union, employees are protected in ways such as employers must bargain in good faith regarding all issues. Union members have the right to bargain over wages and other terms of their employment. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) takes union power to a higher lever as the members, who were appointed by the president, have authority to determine no unfair labor practices are occurring, appropriate bargaining units, and conducting elections to determine union representation. Basically, the NLRB oversees that the laws of the Wagner Act are being followed and the employers are not conducting any activities that can lead to charges of unfair labor practice.

The labor laws give employees the right to choose a union or choose not to participate so it appears the law does not support one over the other, but supports the employees to be able to stand up for their rights when they feel the employer is using unfair labor practices. I believe this to be a very sensitive subject, because in most places I have worked, employees complain about one thing or another. I don’t think that means they should be allowed to decide to overturn the employer’s policies by organizing a union. (DeCenzo. 2010. p.343-346) 2. I believe teaching assistance should be considered employees since this position is represented by the Graduate Employees Organization (GEO) which is a collective bargaining representative. Since it is supported by a union, this position would be considered an employee with the same rights to improve their working conditions.

The University recognizes the GEO and seems to be familiar with union practices. It appears the university and the organized unions are able to work together and come to amicable agreements. I wonder if this is because some of the unions are made up of a younger generation who are not as demanding as a union of middle aged workers, mainly because they do not have the work experience to know what to ask for. Or maybe they are more willing to have a good labor-union relationship than the more experienced worker who may have become resentful over the years and may expect more then they deserve. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, teacher assistants “perform duties and deliver direct services to students or parents” (Teacher. May 2012.)

This position is a paid position that delivers a service so it does not make sense that this position would not be considered an employee. Even those who attend school, such as Graduate Teaching Assistants, should be afforded the same protections as any other paid employee. This is similar to the RAs and CDAs who were awarded the right to unionize, even though they were undergraduate students. If undergraduates can unionize, the teacher assistants are certainly considered employees and would also have the right to unionize if they chose to do so.

3. I believe management’s reaction to employee interest in unionization differs if the employer already has a high union density. This does not mean employers are happy to have a group of employees become unionized, but I think they are familiar with the practices of a union and what is involved in working with the union to hammer out the issues raised by union members. I think the reaction would be much more positive from the employer that already has a high union density that an employer who does not.

The employer without any union interaction would most likely be more negative and would not want to recognize a union within their workplace. Employers with no union involvement would most likely feel their rights were taken away or that they have lost their authority within the business. An employer who has union experience knows they are still in control of their business; however, they are aware of the negotiation process and the demands they may have to agree to. This can be a tense process as I feel unions just expect employers to bow down to all of their demands.

This type of force seems like it gives the union an unfair advantage, which to me contradicts the whole reason for a union, where it was thought that the employer had the upper hand. I can only assume my lack of experience makes me form judgments that may or may not be true, but it is how it appears to me looking at it from the outside. 4.I believe some of the RA complaints were overstated because they expect to be given the same consideration as a resident, when they were informed in the (MOU) the Memo of Understanding which described the terms and conditions of the position.

In the MOU, the university describes the requirements of enrollment, minimum GPA, and disciplinary guidelines. Human resource polices specifically state a violation of these disciplinary guidelines would be cause disciplinary action. It is unclear to me why the RA would compare themselves to the residents when they were entrusted with this position and are held to a higher standard. The complaint of compensation was more reasonable since they do not receive much of a monthly salary for all that is expected of them. After taxes the RA is not left with much. Since they are expected to discipline residents and are faced with the retaliation and anger from the residents, it is no wonder there is such a high turnover rate for the RA position. It is unbelievable that there are so many applicants for the position although perhaps they do not know all of the details of the position.

It is most likely the reason why people apply and then quit since such a low paying position demands so much from the undergraduate student to handle. Perhaps in this situation a union is needed since it is obvious that the university is taking advantage of the students by requiring them to do much more than they are compensated for. 5. Unionization could change the culture of residence life in a negative way since the management of the company will have lost the control they once had to freely make changes to the culture and business operations. A union would now require that management to adhere to a distinct set of rules and would not have to agree with the way management decides to do business.

I would assume the relationship between union and management can become quite agonizing to management as they might feel they cannot make decisions in their own business. According to an article on, a study was conducted to evaluate the impact a union has on organization culture, and I was surprised by the results. It appears a comprehensive study of 10 years of information of both union and non-union groups was provided which included more than 7000 employee responses.

It was stated that an organization is only as good as its culture and their ability to be aware of it and make changes. This is not such an easy task when a union is involved since according to the study, “unions are less likely to endorse the cultures of the organization.” This can create a division between the groups. (Unions. May 2012.) Contrary to what I would have thought, this study revealed less employee involvement and less teamwork or desire for advancement. This was surprising as the power of the union negotiation would make me assume these union members are feeling empowered since their voice is heard and they have job security.

Apparently, these employees are not as happy or content as one would think. I feel this may be because the employer now has no room for change when it comes to union members and perhaps the non-union members appear to be a part of the business whereas the union members may feel they do not actually fit in, since they belong to the union. A sense of pride, belonging and appreciation motivate employees to work harder, but the union members do not have this aspect so they are less motivated. 6. Arizona has a “right-to-work” provision in which “no person shall be denied the opportunity to obtain or retain employment because of a non-membership in a union.”

This protects public employees from being turned down due to non-union involvement. The employees are free to choose, and cannot be discriminated against for not supporting a union. I have never worked for a union, but I have witnessed a strike take place at a previous employer, where only some departments were unionized. The strike was out of control, and those not involved had to be protected by the protests going on in front of the building.

In my opinion, this should not be allowed, that employees can use such force and violence to coerce the employer to cave to their demands. (Arizona State Senate, 2012, p.1) The NLRA covers employees in the private sector, such as those employed by Federal, state, and local government, agricultural laborers, domestic service, independent contractor, and those subject to the Railway Labor Act. The rights protected under the NLRA are those concerning the employee’s right to form, join, and assist in organizing a union, or to not participate in a union. The protections are in place so no one is forced to join a union, and union cannot force an employer to hire only union members. (National Labor Relations Board, n.d.). I believe there are protections for those who do not wish to participate in a union for a reason. As I previously described, unions can become harsh in order to get their way. I would not want to pay dues for someone else to be paid a salary to speak for me.

I negotiate for myself, and my commitment to the company and desire to excel helps in terms of salary increases and other benefits. I do not believe the negotiation process of a union is a benefit to anyone by the union negotiators and it only appears to create hostility within a company that should be able to run their own business. We have other avenues to explore if we feel we are being discriminated against, such as the EEOC. 7. I agree with the decision of the Labor relations commission (LRC) that the RAs and CDAs are employees and have the right to unionize. The university “hired” the RAs and had them sign a “job” description and RA Memo of Understanding (MOU). The university laid out clear terms and conditions and requirements that must be met in order to be eligible. This who met the conditions would be eligible for the CDA, community development assistant, which, to me appears to be a type of promotion since the CDA is a mentor for the RAs although no pay increase.

Each position receives compensation and must adhere to mandatory requirements such as working 20 hours a week and preparation before each semester. With all of the requirements of these positions, as well as it being a compensated position, is enough proof that this is indeed an employed position in which the employees should have the same rights as any other employee, even though they are students. It would be discrimination to deny these students the rights that any other employee receives. The LRC was absolutely correct to decide for the RAs and CDAs as these are clearly employees and it appears they are being taken advantage of by the university since they deal with all of the negativity on a daily basis with little support and do not receive a pay increase with added responsibilities of a CDA. The university is not being fair to those in these positions because they are students, but being able to become unionized will help them sort through all of the issues they face.

Arizona State Senate (2012, November 8). Labor Employment Laws. Retrieved from DeCenzo, D. A., & Robbins, S. P. (2010). Employee Benefits. In Fundamentals of human resource management (10th ed., p. 343-346). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. National Labor Relations Board (n.d.). Employee Rights | NLRB. Retrieved , from Teacher Assistants. (2012, May). Retrieved from Unions Can Present Challenges to Organizational Culture and Change. (2012, October 15). Retrieved , from

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