Labor laws in many countries recognize the legality of a collective bargaining agreement, which basically entails the voluntary negotiation between employers and employees through their trade unions aimed at reaching agreements that functions to regulate employees’ working conditions in terms of setting standards for wages, working hours, grievance mechanisms, and other issues that may directly or indirectly affect employees (Lardy, 1999).
The right to collectively bargain with an employer is also recognized by a multiplicity of international human rights conventions in large part for enhancing the employees human dignity, liberty and independence through allowing them the chance to influence the development and implementation of workplace rules and thereby giving them some control over a major facet of their lives, namely their work.
As such, the workers had a legitimate grievance since the collective agreement, as explained above, gives them every right to protect their work interests, including resisting any attempts to render them redundant by taking away their jobs.
The collective agreement duly signed by the workers’ union and the management of the hotel states that all work shall be carried out by the union members and, therefore, taking away the work normally done by the employees amounts to an abuse of a legally binding agreement. In addition, the collective agreement gives employees a framework through which they can air their grievances whenever they feel their interests are threatened (Holley et al, 2009). In this context, the employees had a legitimate grievance.
The collective bargaining agreement underlines the need for liberty and fairness in employees’ dealing with the management in their work contexts (Lardy, 1999).
However, the decision made by the previous supervisor to save payroll dollars by taking away the jobs of union workers not only infringed on their rights to influence the development of workplace rules, but it was taken in bad faith since the main objective was to enhance the bonuses accruing to the supervisors.
This demonstrates that the decision taken by the previous supervisor was not fair and didn’t have the interests of the workers at heart as per the collective bargaining agreement. The right to involve workers who would later be affected by the decision and enshrined in the collective bargaining agreement was also ignored (Holley et al, 2009).
As such, this situation could have been amicably solved by involving the concerned parties, including the management and employees, in discussions aimed at coming up with practical and workable solutions towards saving payroll dollars and increasing bonuses instead of taking away the jobs of other workers. The supervisor could have used this avenue to negotiate for increased pay.
The duly signed collective agreement between the management and the union give employees the leverage to not only negotiate their fringe benefits and allowances, but also their working conditions and other issues related to employment (Holley et al., 2009).
As such, the proposal to solve this situation would entail bringing the management, supervisors, and other employees in a round-table discussion under the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement and other labor laws in an attempt to air the grievances about bonuses from a collective standpoint.
The tripartite discussions will ensure the interests of all stakeholders rather than using the position of authority to sideline employees who are duly protected by the collective bargaining agreement. In addition, such a proposal will ensure fairness of the concerned parties, including the management.
Carrell, M.R., & Christina, H.J.D. (2006). Labor relations and collective bargaining: Cases, practice, and law, 8th Ed. London: Prentice Hall
Holley, W.H., Jennings, K.M., & Wolters, R.S. (2009). The labor relations process, 9th Ed. Mason, OH. Cengage Learning
Lardy, C.A. (1999). Collective bargaining: The issue or principle. Retrieved October 31 2010 http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/pdf/efop/efo30103.pdf