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Hayter (1) defines collective bargaining as a process through which employees negotiate their terms of payment. The demands of the employees are presented to the worker’s unions and they relate to health insurance, retirement benefits, overtime payments, occupational hazard compensation, and payments relating to safety in the workplace. Before the bargaining procedures, employees normally hold discussions about the terms of payment that would promote their quality of life. Similarly, Clark, Delaney, and Frost (1) report that the process enhances industrial affairs and the relationships between the workers and the employers. Hayter (2) notes that the worker’s unions have mutual interests since the negotiations benefit their members. According to Colosi, Thomas, and Berkeley (2-3), the unions usually select members to represent them during the negotiation procedures, which are held between the employers and the worker’s union committees. Legally, it is mandatory to have a contract outlining the agreements after the collective bargaining process. In the United States, for example, the majority of workers in the public and private sectors have the right to collective bargaining (Ameglio and Blanpain 2).
In reference to Magda, Marsden, and Moriconi (608-609), a collective agreement is a contract that stipulates the pacts made between the employees, union representatives, and employers, and it outlines the agreed terms of payment. All the parties must participate in compiling the collective agreement, and its major purpose is to renew the terms, conditions, and rates of payment (Kriechel, et al., 3). In summary, collective agreements constitute; coverage clauses, mechanisms to solve future problems, conditions relating to the agreement, and the expiry dates. The current research aims to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of collective bargaining.
Advantages of collective bargaining
Ameglio and Blanpain (2-4) note that the success of worker’s unions would be hindered in the absence of collective bargaining. This is because the process enables them to look out for the best interests of their members. Additionally, collective bargaining allows the workers to get better salaries and benefits. Although the unions still require the workers to pay membership fees, Dimitriu (489-490) indicates that they improve the future of the employees and the society. The renewal of the agreements after some time ensures that the employee’s benefits continue increasing and hence meet the demands of their families. The notice to bargain is a document that marks the beginning of the procedure. It guarantees that the employees have sufficient time to think about the kind of benefits and terms of payment that they desire. Ameglio and Blanpain (3) argue that mutual agreements ensure that the needs of the unions and the workers are met as representatives of the union and the employees are usually present in the process. Following the negotiations, the benefits spill down even to the non-unionized workers. Lewin, Keefe, and Kochan (750-753) also indicate that the agreements allow all the parties to participate and share the benefits of the contracts.
According to Hayter (3-4), past patterns of solving disputes through conflicts destabilized the workforce. In this view, collective bargaining is essential as it ensures that the demands of the employees are solved through dialogue and consensus. Conflicts between parties are settled through dialogues and the collective agreements ensure that employers adhere to the matters outlined in the contract. Moreover, workers know beforehand that they have a means of solving conflicts peacefully and effectively rather than through trade union actions. The bargaining process eliminates arbitration and makes sure that the negotiations are based on the demands and needs of the workers. In the case of arbitration, a third party is involved in deciding the employee’s working conditions. Clark et al. (3-5) report that collective negotiations safeguard social partnerships, which are crucial for the survival of industrial relations. Social partnerships involve relationships between the worker’s unions and the employers in organizations. Moreover, the bargaining improves relations between the workers and their employers. Lastly, Dimitriu (490-491) argues that bona fide dealings between unions and employers promote trust and stabilize the union memberships.
Disadvantages of collective bargaining
Despite the involvement of workers and union representatives in the collective bargaining process, Cloutier, Denis, and Bilodeau (1020) note the possibility of some employees being dissatisfied with the terms of payment. Thus, the perception of the workers toward the terms of payment determines whether their attitudes toward their employers and co-workers are affected. As a result of low job satisfaction, their productivity and profitability within the organization are affected. The low level of job satisfaction is likely to affect the overall competitiveness of the organization. In an effort to ensure that all the parties are satisfied during the negotiation process, Lewin, Keefe, and Kochan (750-752) suggest that the worker’s unions ensure that all the demands of the employees are catered for. Also, Krieg et al. (621-622) acknowledge the wealth of research regarding the association between low job satisfaction and union membership. Therefore, it is unlikely that the collective negotiations would promote motivation and job satisfaction among the workers. Lewin et al. (751) also note that collective bargains have not been effective in some settings in regard to the prevention of strikes in the workforce. According to Hayter (5-6), another disadvantage of collective bargaining is the fact that it is least likely to benefit the low-income employees. This is because the worker’s union committees and the influential employees within an organization are less likely to fight for the rights and interests of other employees. Moreover, conflicts within the management of the unions are likely to limit the success of the negotiations. Ameglio and Blanpain (6-7) state that collective bargaining does not cater to the interest of the public regarding the control of the prices of various commodities.
Collective bargaining refers to the procedures through which the terms of payment within the workforce are negotiated. Such negotiations involve the worker’s unions committees, employees, and the employers (Hayter 1). Additionally, a collective agreement is a contract that contains the information about the agreed terms of payment. All the members have to come to a consensus and sign the collective agreement document. Collective bargaining procedures occur in both public and private organizations in the United States. Moreover, they allow workers to settle their disputes peacefully. The advantages of collective negotiations include; improvement of working conditions, provision of better salaries and benefits, prevention of conflicts and strikes, and safeguarding social partnerships. On the contrary, the disadvantages of the agreements include; inability to promote job satisfaction, collective negotiations do not necessarily prevent strikes in the workforce, and conflicts within the management may limit their success. Nonetheless, collective bargaining has been effective in the past regarding improving the working conditions and negotiations for better salaries.
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Lewin, David, Jeffrey Keefe and Thomas A Kochan. “The new great debate about unionism and collective bargaining in U.S. State and Local Governments.” ILR Review 65.4 (2012): 749-778. Print.
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