Assignment 11: Unionization
Part 1 of 1: You are taking on the role as arbiter in a tense dispute between railroad workers and railroad management. Use the information below to create a fair compromise. Submit your compromise and the justification for it.
The current contract expires tonight at midnight. Both sides have agreed to one last negotiating session. The three issues still unsettled are wage rates for engineers, vacations, and the workweek for rail yard workers. The current contract provides for the following:
Wage rates for engineers:
$450 per week for one year
$550 per week for years two through five
$750 per week for years six through ten
$1000 per week after ten years
Vacation for all union employees:
- one week in year one
- two weeks in years two through four
- three weeks in years five through ten
- four weeks after ten years
Workweek for rail yard maintenance workers:
Forty-five hours per week of regular time, with time and a half for any work in excess of 45 hours in a week; management has the option to arrange the workweek so that part time employees work in place of employees who have reached 45 hours in a particular week so as to eliminate some of the overtime pay.
The union feels the need to achieve a resounding settlement its members. The union does not want a strike! Some of its members have been approached by the organizers of another union about the possibility of representing them in the future, weakening the current union.
Failure to obtain a good financial package could be the first step toward widespread dissatisfaction with the unions leadership. Such a result will give more ammunition to the union trying to lure your members away.
The union is willing to be flexible on the vacation issue, but knows there must be a nice raise for the engineers. They are the leaders within the union and no one wants their unhappiness to filter down to the other workers. In addition, the current workweek for rail yard workers is the source of many complaints.
Management cannot afford a strike! The company has lost money during the past two years and a strike could be a crippling financial blow. The president of the railroad has personally cautioned against “giving away the store” in this contract negotiation.
Management is willing to give in a bit on the vacation issue, and perhaps agree to a small raise for the engineers. However, they do not want to change the workweek because it will cost the company a lot in overtime pay.