Labor Law and Unions
Richard S Gist MD
10 September 2012
Prof Phillip Norris
Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City is an 1100 bed tertiary teaching medical center with a large, diverse nursing staff. Due to increasing dissatisfaction with management, the nursing staff of ...view middle of the document...
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The benefits of a unionized “shop” are many. First, the unionized shop brings a focal point of bargaining and negotiations to a single point rather than multiple in a non-unionized shop. In that regard, the union is also in many cases a focal point for employee grievances which may be a single event or a problem that affects multiple employees. This single point allows management to have a point of contact within the union for such issues. In addition, the union acts as an employee’s advocate in disputes between the employee and management. (Belman,1992)
Other important capabilities that the union brings to the table include the labor unions in some instance bring to the table skilled workers who have vast amounts of experience such skilled tradesmen: sheet metal workers, construction, etc. This pool of experienced craftsmen is difficult to replace in some areas of expertise and the training and equipping of such skilled craftsmen is an expensive and long process. By having union activity, this keeps a relatively stable pool of such individuals at the organization with relatively long longevity of key and critical personnel. (Belman and Block 2002)
The unionization process begins with a worker interest. Often, these “worker interest” meetings are done with relative secrecy. Management may find that the workers are asking more questions about wages, benefits, etc., prior to the formal request to unionize. The workers then may proceed with the election of union officials if not contested by the organization (consent election). The company may contest the unionization. An election of union officials can be held even if the employer does not give their direct assent to unionization of the shop. The
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process then becomes in the purview of the National Labor Relations Board (Stipulated election). The election is usually set 30 days from the date of the initiation and can have campaigning much in the manner of that of public office. In the stipulated elections, the NLRB will be the arbiters of the election and will directly operate the election process. If the majority of the workers vote for union representation, then by law the employer must begin negotiations with the union.
The union bargaining...