University of Phoenix
July 18, 2011
Labor and Unions
Middlesex county juvenile corrections officer union 367 is the organization that represents the employees for the Middlesex County Juvenile Corrections Officers servicing the Youth Services division of Middlesex County. There are approximately 100 officers employed by the State of New Jersey who report into this union. The union provides representation to its members in cases where there has been disciplinary action, suspensions, legal issues such as lawsuits or criminal charges, as well as Equal Employment issues. The union also represents the workers interests such as benefits, pensions, salaries and entitlements through contract negotiations with its employer, Middlesex County Freeholders.
Legal issues that this union faces are discrimination of employees, refusal to negotiate on good faith, excessive membership fees, insufficient representation or the discrimination of an employee who does not want to participate in union activities. Because this union is represented by elected officials, most often members of the union itself, there can be a conflict of interest resulting in the potential for corruption. When there are disputes regarding the union’s contract, a grievance can be filed which may lead to binding arbitration if an agreement cannot be met. Because this union’s contract stipulated a no strike policy, its members are not allowed to force a work stoppage or strike in order to ensure their demands are negotiated. If the workers were to strike they could face arrest for several charges because such a strike is deemed unprotected and it can also damage contract negotiation. In order to avoid such consequences it is essential for union representatives to bargain workers rights with the Freeholders in effective manners. As noted by Cascio (2010), there are “five tips from the SEIU’s Andy
Stern on how labor and management can work together more effectively: 1. Relationships are not a matter of chance; they are a matter of choice .
2. Approach partnerships by making ‘finding a solution’ a higher priority than placing blame.
3. Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
4. Offer incentives that encourage others to take risks.
5. Keep an open mind, rather than an open mouth, be willing to change, and stay focused on shared goals”.
By following these guidelines, negotiations between unions and employers can run much more smoothly and successfully. Benefits to joining this union are numerous. Unions can bargain, on the behalf of employees, benefits such as health insurance, retirement pensions, life insurance benefits, salaries, paid time off and workplace regulations such as shift work and safety issues. Being a member in a union gives workers a collective voice for their rights and interests and allows them a place to be heard. In order to begin the process of unionization the employees must first get organized and request collectively from a union to be established or they make begin a union themselves and even sometimes they can be contacted by outside unions that are looking to have their group unionized. The workers must then sign authorization cards which allow the union to provide exclusive representation for the workers when negotiating with employers. The union must receive authorization cards from at at least 30% of the workers in order to receive a petition for election at which point the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) can determine the bargaining unit for the workers and employer. At this point there can be a representation campaign to determine who will represent the employees, the union or management. This is done via secret ballot elections and “if the union receives a majority of the ballots cast (not a majority of votes from members of the…