Collective Bargaining Read Attached Collective Bargaining from Reeves (2006). Cases in Public Human Resource Management. Cengage.
Answer the following questions:
1) In this negotiation, it seems like it will be impossible for the two sides to be able to meet an agreement – as to do so will likely lead to one side loosing. This situation is not uncommon in Union-Management Negotiations. What should the negotiators do in order to to prepare for the negotiation and make sure that it is successful (defined as
2) Provide at least 2 alternative plans (from what the two parties in the case want). You are to provide recommendations that create a compromise or collaboration where everyone being represented will be satisfied.
3) Both parties’ negotiators were given specific instructions and goals that they were to achieve; however, it is not realistic to expect either party to be able to achieve these orders. What consequences would you as the mayor for the city representative and as a union member to the union representatives have for your negotiators if they fail to follow orders. Hint: Think about concepts from your other classes.
4) Why is it illegal for the fire fighters to strike? What could they do instead to protest during the negotiations?
5) If an impasse is reached, what rights does the company have? How might the union try to thwart the impasse in this situation?
Follow current APA format for citations and reference page if used.
A paragraph for each question.
Complete and submit the assignment by 9:00 PM ET Sunday through Canvas.
Attached is the case and power points of this topic in certain chapters. MAN 712 Final Exam
Taking the Firefighters’ Heat
Great negotiators are not “naturals” who simply possess some hidden talent
unknown to others. Effective negotiation requires shill building that can only be
perfected through knowledge and repetitive practice on a regular basis in each
negotiating situation. Positional bargaining is a strategy that is based on moving
from position to position, without one’s true agenda, until compromise is
reached. Unlike problem-solving negotiation, which has been called “getting to
yes,” positional bargaining is more like “getting to OK.”
The City of Concord, New Hampshire, has a population of 50,000 inhabitant, and its city hall is
currently preparing for negotiations with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF),
Local #37, which represents the 120 full-time firefighters and paramedics who are deployed
among seven station houses. Both parties are approaching the upcoming negotiations with
some trepidation because labor-management relations under the present collective bargaining
agreement have been anything but harmonious.
THE CITY’S POSITION
The city’s negotiating team consists of three members; the personnel director, budget director,
and the chief of the fire department. Both of the former individuals are classified employees
whereas the chief is a political appointee and long-time friend of the mayor.
Currently, Concord Fire Department (CFD) employees in the bargaining unit earn an average of
$30,000 per year in wages, plus a generous benefit package calculated as worth another
$20,000 per employee. Thus, the compensation package fir CFD employees totals some $6
million for represented employees, approximately $700,000 for six managers (the chief and five
assistant chiefs), and almost $250,000 for two secretaries and five dispatchers.
Traditionally, overtime costs have run approximately $7.2 million annually. Management has
been advised by an outside consultant to consider flexing work schedules so that it can avoid
paying excessive overtime, but this proposal would certainly be strongly opposed by the union.
Negotiations also are expected to center on issues of pay, health insurance, and annual leave
time, with management needing to hold costs as much as possible.
Management’s position is exacerbated by the fact that neighboring Manchester, a city of
approximately 100,000 citizens, pays its firefighters and paramedics an average of $2,000 per
year more than Concord, provides comparable benefits, and allows a week more annual leave
(three to five weeks, depending on seniority, in contrast to the two to four weeks given by
CFD). Increased annual leave would mean hiring more employees, and the mayor is adamantly
MAN 712 Final Exam
opposed to new hires. The negotiating team believes that the union will want a package similar
to the Manchester Fire Department, but the mayor has ordered the management team to hold
the line on labor costs.
Budget projections for next year are pessimistic, and layoffs will need to be implemented if
labor costs go up. The city’s negotiating team has been instructed that it may spend no more
than $7.5 million per year for the next two years and may only negotiate a two-year contract.
The rising cost of health care means that positions must be eliminated, or compensation
decreased, if the city is to remain within budget projections. The management team has been
authorized to threaten the union, if necessary, with layoffs and even with closure of one of the
fire stations. As far as health care is concerned, the mayor is not opposed to increasing
copayments (currently, workers pay nothing except for $5 per prescription and $5 per office
visit), employee contribution to health care premiums (currently, workers pay nothing and all
family members are included), or a preferred provider program (currently employees have a
choice of physicians and hospitals).
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement provides a 3 percent per year in wages, two weeks
annual leave for employees with one to five years in service, three weeks for employees with
six to ten years, and four weeks for employees with more than ten years in service.. The union
has indicated that it will seek a 6 percent wage increase for the first year of the upcoming
contract, and 4 percent for each year thereafter included in the agreement. The union would
like a long-term contract of three or four years, and it would also like to hold steady on health
care benefits as well as more annual leave.
THE UNION’S POSITION
The union’s negotiating team consists of three negotiators; a professional negotiator from the
IAFF international headquarters, the local’s president, and the secretary-treasurer of Local
#123. There is some smoldering resentment among rank-and-file members who feel that they
put their lives on the line for an average of $30,000 in wages, while the five assistant chiefs
have hefty salaries averaging $80,000, and the chief makes in excess of $100,000 annually.
Most of the assistant chiefs and the chief were formerly active in the union before crossing over
to the management side.
As indicated, current negotiations are centered on pay, health insurance, and annual leave, but
the most irritating fact is that Concord firefighters and paramedics are treated so much worse
that Manchester employees with similar jobs. Concord employees believe that they are just as
good as their Manchester counterparts and deserve comparable pay and benefits. A 6 percent
raise during the first year of the next contract would close the gap between CFD and MFD, and
4 percent for each year thereafter would enable workers to hold steady in comparison with
Manchester. The unit membership has insisted that the negotiating team hold steady on health
care benefits, and they would like annual leave comparable to MFD.
MAN 712 Final Exam
The union’s negotiating team has heard the city’s usual lament regarding fiscal stress and the
need for restraint; it has also been subjected to the usual threat of layoffs. However, the union
feels that all of these excuses mask an indifference to the dedication and professionalism of
CFD’s employees. Even though Manchester is a larger city than Concord, it has a lower median
income level. The union team is convinced that its first task will be to convince the city to take
the issue of parity with Manchester seriously by negotiating in good faith. Concord firefighters
have authorized a strike in an unofficial vote, even though it is illegal under state law, if parity
with Manchester is not achieved through collective bargaining.