HRM 323 Week 4 Team Assignment Union and Management
HRM 323 Week 4 Team Assignment Union and Management
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Date Created: 11/08/15
Running head: UNION AND MANAGEMENT 1 Union and Management HRM323 UNION AND MANAGEMENT 2 Union and Management “Disciplinary systems are designed to discourage problematic behavior, and to quickly correct problems when they are discovered” (Holley, Jennings, & Wolters, 2008, p. 6). The union international representative is attempting to solve a grievance filed by an employee who works in the warehouse industry. The employee filed a grievance to challenge the disciplinary action received for his or her low productivity over the last three months. The employee was suspended for three days without pay and put on notice that future noncompliance will result in further disciplinary action. Holley, Jennings, and Wolters (2008) state a grievance represents the core of contract administration and is defined as an employee’s (or employer’s) alleged violation of the labor agreement that is submitted to the grievance procedure for resolution by the employee (or union representative or employer). Both management and the union representative will make recommendations on whether the grievance is warranted or not. Both groups will also discuss the previous arbitrator’s decision, the cost, and benefits of the final award, and the risk associated with the decision. Union Findings of the Case Recommendations Supported by Facts of the Case “Unresolved employee grievances can significantly affect both the firms with and without union firms” (Holley, Jennings, & Wolters, 2008, p. 8). The Union International representative has several recommendations for management concerning the grievance filed by the employee. The first recommendation is to review the policy that states employee productivity standards (goals, time frame to meet the goals, consequences for not meeting the goals). The next recommendation is to review other the employees (those who work with the employee who filed UNION AND MANAGEMENT 3 the grievance) productivity reports This procedure is needed to determine if there were other employees who (like the grievant) did not meet productivity standards during that time frame. Just cause needs to be established for the disciplinary action given to the grievant. The criteria for just cause (according to Holley, Jennings, and Wolters, 2008) are: clear and convincing evidence that an offense was committed by the employee, the disciplinary action taken by management was appropriate for the offense, and if the disciplinary action taken is fair and consistent in similar circumstances. Next the recommendation is to call for a meeting between management, the grievant, and the union representative to discuss the findings in this dispute. Opinion of the Previous Arbitrator’s Decision An arbitrator was used (as an unbiased participant) to make a decision in this dispute. The arbitration process has seven steps, which are: “a) prearbitration process (informal meeting between the employee and management), b) decide which issues are covered (workplace conflicts or violations of company policy), c) determine who is covered (coverage may not include all employees), d) set parameters for discovery (necessary to present the case), e) select an arbitrator (neutral candidate), f) arbitration hearing (each side presents their case), g) and the arbitration decision (provided a remedy)”. (Dispute Resolutions Services, 2011, p. 3). The union representative believes that the previous arbitrator’s decision was not fair. During the re investigation of the disciplinary action, the representative found that the employee may have not been given sufficient notice of his or her failure to meet productivity standards set by the company. The punishment was too harsh for the alleged violation. Potential Cost and Benefits of Decision UNION AND MANAGEMENT 4 The cost of the award should the grievance go forward could be that other employees may try to take advantage of the situation. In other words, there could be other instances of employee’s performance declining because they feel they don’t have to work as hard, given the outcome of their coworker. The benefit to the organization should the grievance be awarded is additional training. If the grievance is awarded the company will have gained experience in how better to handle this type of situation based off the recommendations of the union representative. The organization may also come to the realization that the policy should be rewritten to be less vague, so that going forward they will not have to revisit this type of situation. Potential Risk Associated with Decision The risk of the decision should the grievance go forward is that the employee seeks a law suit against the employer, claiming wrongful termination. The employee could state that he or she were indeed warned about his or her decline in performance but were never offered a resolution. The employee may argue that there was no additional training offered or a performance plan put in place to assist him or her with getting back on track to meet his or her performance goal. The employee had a history of satisfactory work for several years may make the claim that after just three months of low performance he or she were treated unfairly when considering his or her years of previous work history with the company. In addition, the employee also has the statement of the union representative that he or she is opposed to the decision because of the lack of evidence surrounding the determination of low performance in relation to the policy. The employee did confide that the root of the lack of performance could be marital issues. However, management did not refer the employee to any type of work/life UNION AND MANAGEMENT 5 balance program that could have assisted the employee, such as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Management Findings of the Case Recommendations Supported by Facts of the Case Management carefully reviewed the issue of the employee and the decline in work productivity over the last three months. After the first month, the employee was given a verbal warning by the warehouse supervisor. At the end of the second month the employee’s productivity had declined further. Management decided to use the confrontation model, which consists of describing the employees behavior, explaining the impact the employees declining productivity has on the company, and stating the desired change that the employee must adhere to (Goodwin, & Griffith, 2007, p. 262). At the end of month three it was apparent to management that the employee had not improved, but his or her productivity had declined further. The employee had been with the company for several years and had a record of usually having satisfactory productivity. The employee had mentioned he or she was having marital issues at home, which was affecting his or her work. Management did not want to terminate this individual, so it was decided to go with disciplinary action of a suspension for three days with no pay to see if this would encourage the employee to improve his or her performance. Opinion of the Previous Arbitrator’s Decision The previous arbitrator conducted their investigation using the seven steps of the arbitration process. After conducting the investigation the arbitrator found that he or she thought the company was just in their determination to take disciplinary action against the employee who had been steadily declining in his or her productivity over the last three month period. The UNION AND MANAGEMENT 6 employee had received several verbal warnings on the matter and a discussion took place between the employee and their direct manager, the Warehouse Supervisor. The supervisor had spoken with the employee on the second month and advised the employee that his or her lack of productivity was affecting the processing of shipments out of the warehouse. This was causing a delay in the shipments to the customers waiting on their merchandise. This in turn was affecting the profits of the company. The supervisor attempted to explain to the employee why his or her productivity was important and how his or her job mattered a great deal in the workings of the warehouse fulfillment, so it was important for them to be productive. The supervisor also added that if he or she could not improve their performance that it could lead to disciplinary action. Management was satisfied with the arbitrator’s findings as they believe they had taken the appropriate action. Potential Cost and Benefits of Decision Management has seen a decline in productivity from the employee who filed a grievance and wants to address the issue. It seems some of the determining factors for the low productivity may be related to resistance to the change when the company installed new technology and a possible lack of proper training (Parik, 2012). The decision is to take time to explain the implementation of the new system and how it will improve the employee’s job. Delivery times will be adjusted during a transition and customized training period for the employee. When the employee understands what is expected and how the flow of the new implementation is defined production will rebound. Potential Risk Associated with Decision UNION AND MANAGEMENT 7 Through the collective bargaining process the potential risk associated with the decision has been discussed. The reduction of the production and request to change delivery dates with the vendors and customers will be a substantial impact on the company’s bottom line for a short time. Management has agreed the training and slowing production will allow for additional training as long as the union has agreed to address low production and possible changes during a transitional period. Conclusion Holley, Jennings, and Wolters (2008) state, that management union officials, and employees at unionized firms are strongly affected by disciplinary actions and arbitrators’ decisions concerning disciplinary actions. “In many respects, employee discipline represents the most significant daytoday issue in administering the labor agreement” (Holley, Jennings, & Wolters, 2008, p. 5). The original arbitrator found no fault with management’s decision to suspend the employee. The employee admits to family issues that may have also had an influence on their performance. The final result and outcome of the case is management has agreed to assist the employee with additional training and a period of flexibility to assimilate. Grievances against the organization or employee should not be taken lightly. For management, it is very important to implement the progressive discipline process when administering employee discipline. In this case, management should have provided more assistance to the employee in training during the second warning, which may have prevented the suspension. UNION AND MANAGEMENT 8 References Dispute Resolution Services (2011) The Arbitration Process. Retrieved from http://www.javistsresolve.com/arbitration.html Goodwin, C., & Griffith, D. B. (2007). The Conflict Survival Guide: Tools for Resolving Conflict at Work. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. Holley, Jr., W. H., Jennings, K. M., & Wolters, R. S. (2008). The labor relations process (9th ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson New World Encyclopedia (2012) Labor Unions. Retrieved from http://ww.newworldencyclopedia.org http://ezinearticles.com/?WhatLeadsLowProductivityattheWorkPlace?&id=4613249,What Leads Low Productivity at the Work Place? by Rakesh Parik, retrieved March 24, 2012.
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