Corporate Management and Union

An organized effort by the union that exerts pressure on the corporation by pressuring the company’s other unions, shareholders, directors, customers, creditors and government agencies often directly.

Other alternatives

Management and labor each have other weapons they can use to try to break an impasse and achieve their aims. The union, for example may resort to a corporate campaign. A corporate campaign is an organized effort by the union that exerts pressure on the employer by pressuring the company’s other unions, shareholders, corporate directors, customers, creditors and government agencies often directly. Thus, the union might surprise individual members of the board of directors by picketing their homes, and organizing a boycott of the company’s banks.


The combined refusal by employees and other interested parties to buy or use the employer’s products is one of the boycotts.

The Web is another potent union tool. For example, when the Hotel Employees and Restaurant employees Union Local 2, wanted to turn up the heat on the San Francisco Marriott it launched a new Web site. The site explained the union’s eight month boycott and provided a helpful list of union backed hotels where prospective guests can stay. It also listed organizations that decided to stay elsewhere in response to the boycott.

Inside games

Union efforts to convince employees to impede or to disrupt production for example by slowing the work pace:

Inside games are another union tactic, one often used in conjunction with corporate campaigns. Inside games are union efforts to convince employees to impede or to disrupt production – for example by showing the work pace, refusing to work over time, filing mass charges with government agencies, refusing to do work without receiving detailed instructions from supervisors and engaging in other disruptive activities such as sick outs Inside games are basically strikes – albeit strikes in which the employees are being supported by the company which continues to pay them. In one inside game at caterpillar’s aurora, Illinois plant United Auto Worker’s grievances in the final stage before arbitration rose from 22 to 336. The effect was to clog the grievances procedure and tie up workers and management in unproductive endeavors on company time.

At the other extreme the grievances procedures may contain is or more steps. The first step might be for the grievant and shop steward to meet informally with the grievant supervisor to try to find a solution. If they don’t find one, the employee files formal grievances and there’s a meeting with the employee, shop steward and the supervisor’s boss. The next steps involve the grievant and union representatives meeting with higher level mangers. Finally, if top management and the union can’t each agreement the grievances may go to arbitration.

Sometimes the grievance process gets of hand. For example, several years ago, members of American Postal Workers Union Local 482 filed 1,800 grievances at the Postal Service’s Roanoke mail processing facility (the usual rate is about 80 grievances per year). The employees apparently were responding to a job changes including transfers triggered by the Postal Service’s efforts to further automate its process.

Guidelines for handling Grievances

The best way to handle a grievances is to develop a work environment in which grievances don’t occur in the first place Hone your ability to recognize, diagnose, and correct the causes of potential employee dissatisfaction (such as unfair appraisals, inequitable wages, for poor communications) before they become grievances.

The manager is on the firing line and must steer a course between treating employees fairly maintaining managements right and prerogatives.

One expert has developed a list of dos as useful guides handling grievances. Some critical ones include:


1) Investigate and handle each case as though it may eventually result in arbitrations.
2) Talk with the employee about his or her grievances give the person a full hearing.
3) Require the union to identify specific contractual provisions allegedly violated.
4) Comply with the contractual time limits for handling the grievance.
5) Visit the work area of their grievances
6) Determine whether there were any witnesses.
7) Examine the grievant’s personnel record.
8) Fully examine prior grievances
9) Treat the union representatives as your equal.
10) Hold your grievances discussions privately
11) Fully inform your own supervisor of grievances