It is a challenge for managers in healthcare to manage within the guidelines of collective bargaining contract. It is important for a manager to have knowledge of the verbiage in the contract so that it can guide the managers decision making when it comes to interacting, responding and disciplining employees. If the manager does not follow the contract when intervening in employee matters, then the employee can call on their union representative to intercede. Managers must maintain a positive labor relations program especially since union membership and election has increased in the healthcare settings (Fried & Fottler, 2018).
The continuous change and shape of the healthcare’s landscape draws for more reform, safety and concerns for healthcare workers at the workplace. It is important for the organization and its leadership team to be mindful and stay abreast in understanding the needs and finding ways for solving issues and concerns to avoid tensions at the workplace (Fried & Fottler, 2018). This helps in creating and promoting positive outcomes for programs of labor relations at work. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) which was passed by the US Congress in the year 1935 protected the right of the employees to have a union and encourages a collective bargaining and protects the welfare of the employees, business and the US economy (NLRB,2019). A labor relations process happens when a manger and a union representative of the entire employee workforce meet up and discuss the rules and regulations set at work and is jointly agreed, determined and administered upon after the collaborative meeting (Fried & Fottler, 2018). The labor relation process has three phases:
This phase occurs when the union is seeking employees to be represented by them. An election happens to find out which union will represent for the employee. After the determination of the union organization, this allows the union to represent in behalf of the employee in instances for negotiating or collective bargaining agreements. The key issues for the desirability to have a union are employee wages, benefits and workplace perceptions (Fried & Fottler, 2018).
The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) mandates an employer in recognizing and bargaining with the certified union that was chosen and elected by the employees to represent them. Collective bargaining occurs in this phase and is encouraged by Federal labor laws for the employer and employee in reaching agreement issues on wages, hours, contributions, and employment conditions (Fried & Fottler, 2018). There are four basic points in the negotiation phase which comprises the people, interests, options, and criteria. The laborious process of collective bargaining is time-consuming which would require a full attention to understand and listen to the reasons and motivation behind the bargaining (Fried & Fottler, 2018). The three types of bargaining behavior and strategies are concessionary, integrative and distributive bargaining.
This phase occurs when an agreement has been reached by both parties between the employer and the union wherein it is written, and the terms and conditions of the agreement must be signed, applied and enforced. The agreement includes wages, salaries, disciplinary, grievances, and arbitration procedures (Fried & Fottler, 2018). Arbitration occurs when both the union and manager get the opportunity in presenting the case. Management must have the awareness in critical situations that is affecting the ability and willingness in withstanding a strike (Fried & Fottler, 2018). The most severe dispute in labor-management in the healthcare setting is a strike. An assessment in critical issues and the possibility of a strike is driven from wages lost, and revenues. There must be compromise in both parties to have an agreement in order to prevent or stop the strike.
The Human Resources Management’s understanding on labor relations is essentially important to promote a healthy working environment, meet the needs of the employee (wages, revenues, benefits, retirement), and achieve and function as a healthcare organization in providing care to patients and promote great outcomes. HRM affects skill, motivation, attitude, innovative behavior of the employee and well-being once a perspective of mutual gain and positive relationship is attained between the employer and employees are achieved (Messersmith & Ogbonnaya, 2018). The workforce of the employee is needed to continue hospital operations and financial gains. There must be a Labor Management Program (LMP) in order to achieve partnership and understanding in both sides. Communication is the key to achieve understanding. There must be policies, regulations, defined responsibility, training, processes in place and a full understanding of the labor relations process in order to enhance and impede the overall process of labor relations in a healthcare organization (Fried & Fottler, 2018).