1. Why did the union react as it did when it discovered that the flower garden had been planted by the children? What were the possible justifications for the union action?
The union’s reaction to the newly planted flower garden can be attributed to the improper communication between Parks arid Recreation Department employees and the community. The workers assumed that the garden was going to become their responsibility, thus their daily tasks will be increased without the union’s consent. This fact has been the reason for the prohibitive practices complaint, filed by the union members. Their concern could be understood, since an increase in the amount of work without even a pay raise violates their initial work agreements and puts additional pressure.
2. If bargaining unit members had been laid off recently because of budget cuts, would this be important?
If some of the bargaining unit members had been laid off before, the reaction of the union could be understood even better. With the reduction of the labour force, employees are likely to feel more work pressure, which was further exacerbated by the third-graders, who planted the garden, which could eventually become a new responsibility of the Parks arid Recreation Department . Therefore, union members tried to demonstrate their bargaining power and to establish some limits to the work increase. However, their actions could also be negatively interpreted by their employers and the community as an attempt to retaliate to the recent budget cuts and subsequent layoffs.
3. What are the implications for union-citizen relationships?
Unfortunately, union’s actions are likely to have negative consequences for the union-citizen relationships. Since the citizens were very pleased with the work done by the third-graders and they cannot completely understand the reasons for employee dissatisfaction, they are likely to adapt a hostile attitude to the union’s actions.
4. How would you have handled the issue if you were the union president?
The union president should immediately address the communication issue. One possible solution could be to organize a small meeting between the union and community representatives. In this case, both parties could express their opinions and explain their positions to each other, thus improving communication and union-citizen relationships. Moreover, a public explanation of the union’s actions, as well as an internal meeting with the union members should have been conducted by the union president in order to increase transparency and to clarify the main point for disagreement.