The term bargaining denotes a reciprocal understanding between two parties through a contract or an agreement. The essence of this arrangement is to work out the terms of the agreement through negotiations, a take and give scenario, in good faith for the ultimate intention of entering into a binding contract or agreement. Collective bargaining entails negotiations involving a union through its representatives and the management of an organization. Negotiations between employees and the employer can be a hard task especially for employees. Sometimes it can strain relations at the workplace. Freedom of association as enshrined in the Constitution allows workers to form unions which can air the grievances to their employer without fear of victimization. Furthermore, it makes the employees stronger and the outcomes of the negotiations equitable, fair and just. Almost everyone bargains once in a while. It can be while buying a car, borrowing a loan or taking a mortgage among others. Personally, I had a hard bargain recently when I was selling my car. I had intended to sell the car at $ 8,000 but the buyer was offering $ 5,000. We negotiated for three hours canvasing the counter offers from both sides. I ended up selling the car at $ 6,250. I had to concede $ 1,750 in order to let the car go.
Additionally, in 2011 I was elected a representative of the Airport Group union to represent the interests and welfare of our members in our umbrella body UNITE HERE. The body has representatives from other industries like hotels and catering industries, among others. The Union was tasked with the mandate of negotiating an increase in the members’ hardship allowances by $ 3,000 and the increase of leave days from 14 to 42 days. We meet the airlines and airports management representatives for weeks without success. They wanted to increase the allowances by $ 2,000 but were not willing to increase the leave days even by a single day. We conceded that we were amenable to reduce the number of leave days to 21 but the allowances must be $ 3,000. We believed these demands were reasonable because most of the workers worked all year round even during weekends and holidays. Furthermore, they had to deal with all manner of people and conditions that forced them out of their comfort zones. We stood our ground and held that these demands had to be met within a month or we ‘walk away’.
There are various factors that determine a collective agreement between a union and the management. The cardinal issues include the type of work, wages, salaries and other non-wage issues like terms and conditions for the job. It is vital that the work of an employee be commensurate with the salary or wage that they get paid. Additionally, it is crucial to factor in the number of hours, the level of commitment, input and resources that an employee utilizes in their job. On the other hand, the management has to consider the productivity, efficiency, level of independence or supervision, expertise, knowledge, skill and cost of production. All these factors must be discussed and an amicable ground attained. Unions always expect organizations to increase the salaries, wages and allowances of employees. They also expect them to better the working terms and conditions. On the other hand, organizations seek to increase productivity and efficiency while cutting costs of operations.
Hayter, S. (2011). The Role of Collective Bargaining in the Global Economy: Negotiating for Social Justice. New York: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Mnookin, R. (2010). Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Wilken, K. (2010). Collective Bargaining. New York: AuthorHouse.