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Labor Negotiations, Assessment Example

Pages: 3

Words: 729

Assessment

Negotiations in the public sector are harder than those in the private sector. This is because of the difference in the structures in the private and public sectors. The private sector lacks incentive for increasing wages. This is because a rise in wages affects profitability and longevity of business operations. As a result, negotiating high compensation increases potentially affects the availability of jobs. This makes negotiations relatively quickly and amicable.

The public sector has an incentive for pay increases because the increase in salary is catered for by government revenue collected in the form of tax. Negotiations in the public domain entail a considerable amount of bureaucracy as there is a large number of stakeholders involved in the bargaining process. Furthermore, politics and political ideology plays a significant role in public sector collective bargaining. This process is also considered a conflict of interest in the management of public funds because elected officials usually receive a considerable amount of campaign contributions and support from labor unions during election periods (Carrel & Heavarin, 2010, p. 121).

A negotiation impasse is a state where the one or more of the parties involved cannot agree or resolve the issues regarding terms and conditions of employment. This can be solved using three methods, each with its own merits and demerits. The mediation process entails involving an external and neutral third party to help resolve the stalemate. The third party is usually closely related to the differing parties and has a limited role and powers. Their recommendations are kept within the negotiation circles.

Fact-finding entails involving a third-party known as a fact-finder. Their duty is to collect relevant information and evidence from the differing parties and any other appropriate sources (Carrel & Heavarin, 2010, p. 234). Their duty is to develop recommendations based on factual information to provide the best decisions. Their recommendations are availed to the public in contrast to mediation.

Arbitration is the most commonly used form of impasse settlement. This entails utilizing the legal community to settle labor negotiation impasse(s). The parties involved in negotiation each selects their arbitrators to help them resolve the matter in the courts. The resulting decisions in arbitrations are usually binding to all sides involved. This is in large contrast to the non-binding nature of the recommendations or decisions at the end of mediation and fact-finding.

Arbitration is widely considered to be the most efficient method to resolve a negotiation impasse. Arbitration has the added advantage of providing a legally binding solution to the stalemate. The legal structures take into consideration all relevant elements involved in the negotiation and offers a solution that has to be accepted by both parties. Arbitrators are usually neutral parties that have no vested interest in the outcome of the matter. Furthermore, arbitration takes a considerably short amount of time compared to other alternatives that would solve the impasse.

Arbitration has long been used by labor unions in the United States, especially those in the education sector. A strike is usually considered a potential solution to a bargaining impasse. However, strikes tend to do considerable damage to normal operations, affecting the employer, employee and service recipients, i.e. the public. While some industries resort to strikes as the final alternative in the negotiation process, arbitration offers a more amicable process that entails minimal damage to business processes.

Arbitrators employ different styles in determining an arbitration case. These methods are denoted by the criteria used in the decision-making process. They include fairness, industry practice and future labor relations. Fairness entails arbitrating based on what is considered to be unbiased after taking into consideration the most relevant facts. Fairness acknowledges arguments from both sides and offers a balanced solution that would ensure the general welfare of all parties involved.

Industry practice employs past techniques of arbitration to ensure a common method of dealing with common issues found within the industry. Industry practice aims to ensure standards within the industry. Future labor relations takes into account external factors, such as the possibility of strikes and potential political fallout associated with a particular decision (Carrel & Heavarin, 2010, p. 523). Future labor relations accounts for potential positive and/or negative effects of a given decision. I believe the fairness approach produces the best results as it takes into account the welfare of the parties involved in the arbitration process.

References

Carrel, M. R., & Heavarin, C. J. (2010). Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.

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