Part 1. Right to Strike
Present arguments for Public Sector Collective bargaining
Lewin, Keefe, and Kochan (750) argue that collective bargaining in the public has been facing increasing criticism from the government for the past few years. The process where employees unite to negotiate with their employers for salaries and other benefits is argued to give the public sector an added advantage over their counterparts in the private sector. However, new evidence reveals that the public sector needs the collective bargaining more than ever. First, research reveals that the public sector workers make 4% lower compared to employees in the private sector (Budd 2006). Therefore, they really do need every tool including collective bargaining to level the pay cut. In addition, critics of the collective bargaining argue that the public workers have too much power over the government and their activities may cause a deficit in the states resources. On the contrary, the absence of collective bargaining in states does not affect the state budgets. Instead, Lewin, Keefe, and Kochan (770) state that politicians, Wall Street, and the recession are responsible for putting strains in the budget. A good example is Texas, which does not allow collective bargaining, but still has a $27 billion dollar deficit in their budget.
Present arguments against Public Sector Collective bargaining
Numerous academics all support the fact that the public sector collective bargaining is a failure. Notably, the unions that enable the collective bargaining for the public sector have too much influence because of their numbers and collective resources (Budd 2006). Therefore, they can make a huge shift in influencing the activities of the government and fate of politicians. No single group should possess that kind of power. Although they constantly argue that the public sector is paid way less than similar employees in the private sector, this is no excuse to have such unlimited power and control over the government (Lewin, Keefe, and Kochan 760). It is also important to tone that while the private sectors will equate their pay to the profits that their companies make, the same cannot be done with the federal government. Therefore, the resources that they so argue to have the rights to may not be theirs for the taking because there is no sure way of measuring their pay.
Arguments about right of non-essential public employees to strike
Hiltzik (2012) states that different groups of public workers have been fined for striking or faced other kinds of opposition in different parts all over the United States. When most unions in the public sector issued a strike in 2005, the government found them guilty arguing that that the strike was illegal as it violated the ban put on the public bargaining laws. However, after filing a complaint in the International Labor Organization, the government was found guilty for denying its citizens their rights to free association. Most states, therefore, allowed non-essential employees in the public sector to strike. Hiltzik (2012) argues that non-essential employees should be allowed to strike because their absence in the work does not heavily influence the running of the government.
Reasoning and recommendation
In America, labor relations need to take a completely different direction for them to function in the future. My recommendation is that the laws governing labor relation should be changed since they restrict both the employers and the unions. However, this can only take place if unions focus on proposing changes that will benefit both the employer and the employees. The reasoning behind this is that the American market cannot proceed to the needed change with the current legislation. The current legislation is economic oriented but does not account for globalization among other factors (Budd 2006). On the other hand, changes will mean that the unions will focus propose changes based on market forces unique in each and every sector and not as a collective bargaining.
Part 2 Comparative Labor Relations
What similarities and differences between the Labor Relations processes of the EU countries and the process in the U.S
Different countries have different approaches in the labor relations process. The labor relations process in the United Kingdom, for example, is based on voluntarism while labor relations process in the U.S is based on the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which was put in place in the 1950’s (Budd 2006). In the UK they have solidified the need right to organize unlike most of the states in the U.S but they both are facing the problem of declining union density.
The union density in Ireland, on the other hand, is also steadily declining but better the US since it stands at 35% (Budd 2006). They have allowed bargaining at a centralized level on wages unlike the United States, which do not have a centralized level of bargain be it, wages, or even holidays. France does not have a principle exclusive representation as seen in the U.S.
Germany and Sweden have similar labor relation processes where workplace committees are put in place in every workplace where they jointly determine rules in the work place and remunerations. The employers must also consult with the employees before changing any policies unlike in the United States were employers can change policies without consultancy (Budd 2006).
What are the common elements within the EU countries and how do they differ from each other?
As highlighted earlier, there is hardly any formal legislation governing collective bargaining in most of Europe. Most countries interpret the provisions for freedom of association as including collective bargaining rights. For example, countries like Austria and Slovenia require compulsory employee membership to an organization, therefore, resulting to 100% bargaining coverage (Logan 2014). However, countries like Germany, France, and Sweden do not require mandatory bargaining power but collective bargaining remains high.
Explore the different outcomes you would expect to see from these different approaches in terms of the three goals of the labor relations process (i.e., efficiency, equity, voice)
Many democracies realize that labor relations, which are pro collective bargaining foster positive morale in the work place. A good example is Britain. Since they believe that money is the biggest motivator, they are very efficient in bargaining procedures. Resultantly, Logan (2014) provides evidence revealing that there is more equity in pay between employees in the private and public sector. This is because their voices are more recognized there than in the United States.
According to the readings on chapter twelve, the best model of labor relations is allowing collective bargaining but forbidding strikes. This model gives employees a chance to negotiate for better pay.
Perhaps the worst model of labor relations would be forbidding collective bargaining as well as strikes. This completely violates the rights of association for government employees (Lewin, Keefe, and Kochan 750). Such a model might provide room for politicians and other people in power to neglect the rights of employees such as better pay and negotiation of benefits according to the current trends.
Explain why you selected each model
Allowing collectively but forbidding strikes will not compromise government services in the event that employees want to bargain for better pay (Lewin, Keefe, and Kochan 750). Although others may argue that forbidding, a strike does restrict the rights to association, collective bargaining more than compromises for it. On the other hand, restriction to both collective bargain and strikes deprives employees of avenues for employees to ask for better working conditions. It also reduces morale and motivation at the workplace, therefore, restricting growth and development in the said country or state, which embraces such a model.
Discuss how each model impacts the goals of the labor relations process
The labor relation process was created to provide a chance for employees to come together to voice their opinion about their working environment. The unions protect them and level the playing field between employers and employees. The first model that restricts strikes but allows collective bargain influences positively on the labor relations process because employees are able to have an avenue that allows them to express their opinions to their employers. This gives both the employers and employees equal bargaining power. However, restriction for both strikes and collective bargaining shifts all the power to the employers, therefore, affecting negatively on the labor relations process.
Hiltzik, Michael. Why public employees should have the right to strike. New York times, 24 Oct 2013. Web, 10 April 2014. Retrieved from: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/24/business/la-fi-mh-strike-20131024
Lewin, David., Keefe, Jeffrey., & Kochan, Thomas A. the new great debate about unionism and collective bargaining in U.S state and local government, 64(4):2012, 747-779.
Logan, John. Union recognition and collective bargaining: how does the United States compare with other democracies? 2014. Retrieved from: http://leraweb.org/publications/perspectives-online-companion/union-recognition-and-collective-bargaining-how-does-unit
Budd, John. Labor relations: Striking a balance, McGraw Hill 2nd ed, 2006.