Labour Relations- Chapter 3- U n i o n s : O b j e c t i v e s , P r o c e s s e s , S t r u c t u r e , a n d H i s t o r y
Case Study- Little Eagle School Board
The Little Eagle School Board employs 1300 full-time and 200 occasional elementary school teachers. Occasional teachers fill in for full-time teachers who are sick or on leave. Both groups are represented by the Elementary Teachers Union; however, they have separate collective agreements. The collective agreements covering both teacher groups expired in August 2005. When contract negotiations did not produce an agreement, the union started a workto-rule campaign in January 2006. That is, teachers did only their required classroom work and additional duties that the collective agreement required, and declined to volunteer for extracurricular activities such as school theatre presentations. In February 2006, the union imposed what is known as a “pink listing,” advising teachers across the country that there is a labour dispute with a particular school board and they should not apply for or accept a teaching position with the board. The notice also advised teachers that individuals who accepted positions with the board would be disciplined by the union. A second “pink letter” relating to the occasional teachers’ bargaining was issued in April of 2006. Both notices advised teachers to boycott teaching positions in the two bargaining units. The union also placed ads in area newspapers, attacking the school board for failing to provide teachers with adequate resources to provide a quality education. On previous occasions, the board had not hired teachers while a pink listing was in place; however, the board proceeded to hire teachers in 2006. On May 10, 2006, the union and the board reached an agreement for the full-time teachers. A Memorandum of Settlement signed by the parties provided that the pink listing would be rescinded and there would be no reprisals, discipline, or harassment of any bargaining unit member as a result of the member’s participation or nonparticipation in the union’s job action. The collective agreement provided in Article 3 that there would be no discrimination against a teacher because of the teacher’s participation or nonparticipation in the lawful activities of the union. The union stopped the work-to-rule campaign immediately. However, it advised the board on May 20 that the second pink listing would continue until a new agreement was reached for the occasional teachers. The board advised the union that the pink listing should end immediately, but the union continued it until November 2006 when a new agreement was reached for the occasional teachers. The union’s constitution provided that it was an offence to ignore a pink listing and offenders could be disciplined. In September 2006, the union determined the names of teachers the board had hired and disciplined those involved in accordance with its constitution. The discipline included publishing in a union publication the names of individuals who had violated the pink listing, denying them services from the union for three years and disqualifying them from holding union office for three years. This had significant consequences for some of the new teachers. They were not able to access a union program that provided assistance to teachers who were having difficulty and a few had to resign. Morale at several schools suffered because of conflicts between teachers relating to the pink listing.
1. Discuss the methods used by the union in this situation.
2. What arguments could the employer make, and what counterarguments could the union make?
1. Methods used by the union in this situation:
The union in this case has used the following methods:
- Collective Bargaining: Before negotiation
- Collective Bargaining: Confrontation
In the scenario presented in the case study the union has started the work-to-rule campaign and they have also started the ‘pink listing’ of the board.
And when the negotiations were not in agreement, they have sent the teachers i.e. the union members the warning, which was not to accept the job put forth by the boards in the pink listing. They also published the ads for the same in the area newspapers attacking the school board for not providing teachers with adequate resources for quality education catering. In this way they had been pressuring the board to accept the demands and also increased activities for garbing the attention of the public into the concerns and thereby enlisting their sympathy votes.
2. Arguments to be made by the employer and counterarguments to be made by union:
- Arguments by employer:
a. We are the board that hires the teachers on a highest rate and at the best rate.
b. After approving the collective bargaining and agreeing to the terms for full time teachers also the union did not withdraw the pink listing which again put us in the state of difficulty.
c. The teachers are provided with enough resources to cater quality education.
d. The rates paid to the teachers are well and qualifying for the service provided.
e. The teachers working with our board are ensured with job security and if they take part in the activities of the union the board would be forced to dismiss or terminate or suspend them despite of it being lawful or not.
- Counterarguments by union:
a. The board cannot make use of the teachers on the name that they are the hirers at the highest rate and should ensure the best work environment and rate for them.
b. The pink listing was not removed as the agreement was not finalized on occasional teachers.
c. Teachers are provided with the resources that the board thinks is fit and not what the teachers want for aiding their teaching.
d. The teachers over time efforts and working on a holiday are not acknowledged when coming to the compensation payment and the rules and policies on the same should be revised.
e. The teachers should be given permission to participate in the lawful activities of the union as we are a collective union which stands for the betterment of all of us.
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