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Steps a company should take to prepare for its first round of bargaining with the union (pre-negotiation activities). 

There are two different pre-negotiation steps involved the first round of collective bargaining. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) indicated that the first step is involves selecting the negotiating team and the second one entails researching and formulating proposals and the bargaining range.

Step 1: Selecting the negotiating team

The management of a company should select negotiating team members based on the perceived need for each individual’s skills and experience. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) says that “during this step the company’s management should select at least one line manager who supervises bargaining unit employees on its team to either interpret or answer negotiating issues related to daily work operations” (p. 249). The importance of this step in bargaining is that it helps to ensure that the special interests of key constituent groups will be considered in negotiating settlement terms. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) also say that this enhances the probability that tentative contract settlement teams will be approved by a majority of the union’s membership. While selecting the pre-negotiation team, the representativeness may be decided by a referendum in the workplace or by an outside certifying authority (Silva, 2006). 

Step2: Researching and formulating proposals and the bargaining range

            The company depends on various sources to determine a union’s likely bargaining goals in contract negotiations. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) mentioned that this step helps the company to establish likely bargaining subjects as well as possible settlement outcomes. This is because the company and the union may have negotiated earlier at other facilities and this may be used as a starting point in the current negotiations (Silva, 2006). Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) also say that “through such reviews the management get some insights by reviewing the proceedings of a national union convention or visiting a website” (p. 250).

            Another importance of this step is that union officials are likely to rely on formal information sources than informal sources to gather information for use in contract negotiations. This pre-negotiations activity help the team to perform an analysis of previous complains at the facility and determine certain trouble spots (Holley, Jennings &Wolters, 2008). 

Non-economic Impasse resolution

            An impasse refers to a stalemate in negotiations between management and unions over the terms and conditions of employment. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) says that impasses are usually resolved through mediation, fact finding or arbitration.

Mediation

            Mediation involves a neutral third party who has no binding authority but assists the parties in reaching agreement (Holley, Jennings &Wolters, 2008). Mediation is the least intrusive and is little more than an adjunct to the negotiations process. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) noted that the key ingredient for mediator effectiveness is experience with related mediator training and knowledge. During mediation process the mediator should take an active role in the process by such actions as pressuring the parties with successive proposals for compromise, rather than simply relying messages back and forth (Holley, Jennings &Wolters, 2008)

Fact finding

            Fact finding involves a neutral third party who, through a quasi-judicial hearing, assesses the bargaining positions of the unions and management (Holley, Jennings &Wolters, 2008). When settlements are not reached, the fact finder’s report is published in the local media so that citizens know who is responsible for continuing the dispute. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) established that in fact finding final decisions are generally left to the elected legislative body.

Pros and cons

            Fact finding can be successful in resolving impasses because it provides deadlines for the parties to resolve their differences. One disadvantage of fact finding is that it may cause the negotiators to cement their respective positions because the parties believe they can get a better deal from the fact finding (Holley, Jennings &Wolters, 2008). One advantage of meditation is that it tends to be more successful when the parties are unsure of themselves or both have personality conflicts.

            Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) says that fact finding is difficult and therefore its effectiveness does not hinge on the fact finders ability (p. 594). Also the individual is presented facts by the parties in hopes that he or she will agree with their respective positions. Mediation is mostly less effective when followed by fact-finding, but more effective when followed immediately by arbitration. 

What do you see as the future of unions in the United States?  Support your answer with at least two specific examples, references, and statistics (if available)

            Workplace Vision (2005) publication says that the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 gave most U.S workers the right to join or form unions which was a way for employees to negotiate with employers over their pay and working conditions. Despite that there is disagreement over the future unions are taking, there is somewhat more agreement both within labor leadership and among outside observers on what factors are to be most influenced by the split in the short term (Workplace Vision, 2005). Unions in the United States are being affected by long term issues such as the impact of political alliances, international activities and the changing demographics of union members.

            According to Workplace Vision (2005) magazine, it says that in the United States, there is still no solid consensus on why unions have declined in the countries. This has all along been caused by the changing nature of work and the development of employment legislation that protects workers has made employees to decide that joining a union was no longer necessary. It is important to note that social and political factors have contributed to the decline of union membership in the United States (Workplace Vision, 2005). In addition, economic trends and the growth in international competition from low wage countries for example Asian countries have resulted to decline in union membership hence affecting the future of unions in the United States (Silva, 2006).

            In addition, the magazine says that the future of unions in the United States is in the decline because the general demographic changes are leading to a more diverse workforce hence unions are focusing on recruiting women and ethnic minorities (Workplace Vision, 2005). Another cause of decline in unions is the reduction in manufacturing and heavy industrial jobs that characterized the work of the typical union member of the past giving way to jobs in the service sector (Workplace Vision, 2005).     

List and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of off-shoring jobs

            Offshoring is a more recent term used to refer to the movement of work from a company within United States to location outside of the United States for example banking, information technology, telecommunication, engineering functions, tax preparation, medical services and manufacturing (Holley, Jennings &Wolters, 2008).        

Advantages of off-shoring jobs

            According to Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) one of the major merits of off-shoring is that it has been cited as lower costs especially labor costs. It also increases profitability, productivity and quality improvements. Off-shoring also increases operating flexibility, speed and faster access to innovative technology with less capital risk. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) says that off-shoring raises the normal skill concentration of production and the comparative earnings of skilled workers in both countries. Off-shoring increases worldwide capital flows resulting to comparative raise in output of foreign labor. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) says that off-shoring are mostly realized in countries where unskilled labor is scarce, it will relocate unskilled labor to countries such as China where wages are lower.

Disadvantages of off-shoring jobs

            Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) mentioned that off-shoring results to potential problems such as loss of intellectual property and institutional knowledge. It also cause confidentiality risks and reduced ability to respond to market changes in timely manner. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) says that “through off-shoring employees are concerned over possible job loss and poor selection during job placements” (p. 345). Off-shoring results to reduction in the responsibility or skill level required to perform some jobs therefore resulting in lower employee compensation and less job security for employees holding such jobs (Holley, Jennings &Wolters, 2008).

            It has been noted that off-shoring results insufficient training provided to individuals responsible for managing off-shore jobs. This can result to low quality and sub-standard execution of jobs. Holley, Jennings &Wolters (2008) continues to indicate that it results to failure to develop a clear plan detailing off-shoring objectives, expected benefits and performance measures. In the United States off-shoring affects medium skilled jobs such as customer service and transcription. 

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