ADM 477 Exercising Collective Bargaining Paper
ADM 477: Business Law
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Smitty’s Tuff Trucks employs 350 United Auto Workers and is subject to a collective bargaining agreement with the union. The company has struggled in recent years to turn a profit, but things began to look promising this year. Because of the popularity of its trucks, the company’s production more than tripled during the busy season. Smitty tried to keep up with demand by adding extra shifts, but it was not enough. The company was unable to find sufficiently skilled welders to work the extra plant shifts. The worker shortage caused major backlogs of orders and cost the company several lucrative contracts. To prevent further losses, Smitty’s subcontracted production of its truck trailers to ACME, Inc., a non-union shop.
The union filed an unfair labor practice complaint immediately with the National Labor Relations Board. It argued the collective bargaining agreement prohibited Smitty’s from subcontracting labor without union negotiation. Is the union right?
It is unlikely that the union will win its argument. To examine whether or not Smitty’s actions violated the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, first we must examine the context of the situation. The important factors are:
Smitty’s subcontracted its non-union labor force out of necessity. There were not enough skilled union welders available to meet demand.
Smitty’s had suffered major economic losses as a result of the labor shortage. Time was of the essence, so the company arguably had to act quickly to sustain its economic stability.
Smitty’s actions did not amount to an attempt to circumvent its collective bargaining agreement. Its goal was not to replace union workers with non-union workers. It simply needed labor to meet its production demands.
In this scenario, it is unlikely that a company in Smitty’s situation would be required to engage in collective bargaining before subcontracting labor for its workforce. Smitty’s was making a good-faith effort to address business demands and avoid economic hardship due to the lack of skilled labor.
Upon successful completion of the course material, you will be able to:
Analyze the various conflict resolution remedies available to labor and management during the collective bargaining process.