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Tough Bargaining

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  • Tough Bargaining

    In genral, can an employer demand to see the union's proposals for a successor contract prior to making the employer's proposals?

  • #2
    In general, you are going to need to contact a lawyer for this one. What either side may do or be compelled to do in contract negotiations is very detail specific.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      your business agent (bargaining agent) will know the answer to this question....can't find my notes from negotiations class, "demand" sounds a bit strong, but the process has to start somewhere or you (both) end up sitting at the table in silence. doing that usually doesn't accomplish much.......

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      • #4
        Thanks,
        My business agent is the one who allowed this to happen.
        I couldn't believe my eyes, it seems to me that fair bargaining should start with an even exchange of proposals. Not one side providing the other with their strategy in advance. Anyone agree?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by deweybound
          In genral, can an employer demand to see the union's proposals for a successor contract prior to making the employer's proposals?
          The question I think you really wanted to ask is does the union have to provide it?

          Not necessarily. I am sure you are aware that Sec. 8(d) imposes on each side a duty to bargain in good faith.

          Two ways an employer or union can establish that the other side has failed to bargain in good faith is (1) the unreasonableness of proposed contract terms and (2) the actions of the other side in the negotiation (ie was the bargaining sincere)

          With that as the background, there is a line of thinking which says in order too head off a bad faith argument by the other side you put all of your proposals in writing and submit them to the other side ASAP. The more secretive and more veiled the process is the more likely one side is going to argue bad faith.

          So, while you think your agent erred by providing the proposals, there are others that would say it was a smart move (as long as the proposals were reasonable). Some would see his tactic as smart because he took away or minimized a potential bad faith argument by the employer. Your Union can now say, all of our proposals are reasonable and we put them out there ASAP. Therefore, looking at the content of the proposals and our actions there is no way we negotiated in bad faith.

          Also, by doing this your agent potentially forced the employer to begin good faith negotiations sooner rather than later. If the employer was looking to drag the matter out or delay the process and play the cat and mouse game, they now have to ditch that tactic to a certain extent. This is because they have been presented with the proposal and now have to react to it in a substantive manner or face a bad faith charge themselves.

          The bottom line is that it sounds like you are unhappy with the Agent's tactic. Certainly you are entitled to that opinion and come the next election you can vote against him.

          Regards.

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          • #6
            demand? no Do? yes

            One side's gotta go first, usually. Although both can agree to submit simultaneously. What's the harm? Its not like the first to go gets trapped or anything. I suppose it might be a problem if the employer were going to give you a generous raise but the Union asked only for a moderate raise, then the employer might scale back their proposal. otherwise, the Union asks for the sky and employer wants to give pennies and you go from there.

            negotiations take many sessions, and as long as you don't engage in regressive bargaining (and some other stuff), everything's fair game. new proposals, changes to proposals, coupling proposals, etc.

            by the way, the two parties' proposals generally don't line up head-to-head anyway, except for wages and health care, generally. That is, the Union wants A,B & C and 1, 2 & 3. it makes such proposal, some being economic and some being non-economic (contract language). The employer, in turn, makes its proposals, usually B, D & E and 1, 4 & 5. other than B and 1 (say, wages and healthcare), the proposoals don't usually directly counter one another. From there you horsetrade on proposals and motherfreak one another until both sides get tired and the deal is made in the hallway. Sometimes a mediator is called in.

            okay, that's a cynical point of view, but when its done tell if it ain't at least mostly correct!

            curt j.

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