M6D1: Grievance Procedure
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Image of business people arguing in a meeting
In this discussion, we will assess the grievance procedure as a private dispute resolution mechanism as economic weapons to help force parties into reaching an agreement.
Before you begin this activity, be sure that you have:
Read Textbook, Chapters 14
Reviewed the PowerPoint for:
Chapter 14 [PDF file size 11.4 MB]
This discussion will help you understand the importance of the grievance procedure in resolving disputes that arise during the term of the contract.
As you learned in the previous module, for the labor agreement to be binding, it must be reduced to writing and signed by both parties. It is enforceable in a court of law and each party has an obligation to ensure the agreement is implemented properly. Because of the process of collective bargaining and the inability of the parties to articulate all the contingencies that may arise during the life of the agreement, it is viewed as a “living” document — it may be open to different interpretations and the parties may find themselves facing situations they did not anticipate during negotiations. The grievance process provides a mechanism for the parties to resolve their differences during the term of the agreement. This ensures both parties have access to peaceful resolution of disputes arising under the agreement.
Without the grievance procedures, particularly the last step of binding arbitration, parties would need to use economic force (strikes and lockouts) to resolve difference between the parties that arise during the life of a negotiated agreement. In the interest of maintaining labor peace and ensuring commerce is not interrupted by work stoppages, U.S. labor policies and court rulings favor the use of grievance process, including arbitration, to resolve disputes regarding violations of the contract or differences in interpretation of contract language.
In your initial post please address the following:
Explain the history and goals of the grievance process, paying particular attention to the public policy issues. In your response, also address whether the grievance process is an effective means of dispute resolution. Explain your reasons and support them with information from the readings and other sources, as appropriate.
Once you have posted your response, you must also read through your classmates’ posts. From the responses choose some that you find interesting and respond substantively to them. You are also responsible for responding to students who post comments regarding your initial posts. The goal is to create a dialog among the class.
See the Course Calendar for due dates for posts and responses.
Consult the Discussion Posting Guide for information about writing your discussion posts. It is recommended that you write your post in a document first. Check your work and correct any spelling or grammatical errors. When you are ready to make your initial post, click on “Reply.” Then copy/paste the text into the message field, and click “Post Reply.”
To respond to a peer, click “Reply” beneath her or his post and continue as with an initial post.
This discussion will be graded using the discussion board rubric. Please review this rubric, located on the Rubrics page within the Start Here module of the course, prior to beginning your work to ensure your participation meets the criteria in place for this discussion. All discussions combined are worth 20% of your final course grade.
Why is it difficult for unions and management in the U.S. to sustain cooperative programs to achieve their goals?
Management and labor unions try as much as possible to ensure that there are no disputes arising between them and that cooperation is fostered. Cooperation between unions and management is actualized through various cooperative programs (Bakke, 1966). In the United States, however, labor unions and management find it difficult to sustain these cooperative programs. One reason for this is that there is no trust between labor unions and management. Whenever disputes or problems are not solved through joint action, the parties to the dispute lose faith in cooperation (Harbison & Coleman, 1951). Another reason is the effort on the part of the union or the management dying out, especially when new problems and disputes fail to arise. There is also the issue of conflicts arising between the method of decision making when disputes arise and the authoritarian nature of management. Issues such as bad faith bargaining also affect cooperation programs between unions and management.
Bakke, E. W. (1966). Mutual survival: The goal of unions and management. Archon Books.
Harbison, F. H., & Coleman, J. R. (1951). Goals and strategy in collective bargaining. Harper & Brothers.
The Grievance Procedure
The grievance procedure is one of the methods used in resolving issues related to employees in an organization (Bemmels & Foley, 1996). Traditionally, disputes between people were solved using arbitration. The process of arbitration has been used by human beings since the beginning of civilization. For instance, emperors and kings were arbitrators for many disputes in their societies and kingdoms. The process of arbitration is, however, not so favored by the parties in dispute since it does not involve courts and the arbitrator is not authorized by a court to settle a dispute. The federal government has over the years supported arbitration, for example with the interstate commerce Act and the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) coined during World War II (Briggs, 1981). The grievance procedure, involving binding arbitration has been largely adopted over the years, making it the most largely used method of employee dispute resolution. The grievance process has helped ease the burden of labor courts in the United States. It is, therefore, a very effective method of solving labor disputes. It is faster and more convenient than the court process and saves time.
Bemmels, B., & Foley, J. R. (1996). Grievance procedure research: A review and theoretical recommendations. Journal of Management, 22(3), 359-384.
Briggs, S. (1981). The grievance procedure and organizational health. Personnel Journal.
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