Mandatory bargaining issues, voluntary bargaining issues, and illegal bargaining issues
Bargaining is the process of negotiating a lawfully binding agreement between a union and an employer, with the focus on overseeing the wages, working hours and the other terms and conditions of employment. For bargaining to take place successfully, the subjects or issues raised have to be categorized as mandatory, voluntary, or illegal (Degni et al. 32).
Mandatory bargaining issues refer to subjects or issues that directly affect the terms and conditions of employment with examples such as wages pay for training, promotions, and bonuses (Degni et al. 35). These are the issues that the two parties (employer and employee) must bargain over in case a proposal is made. The employee must be part of a union which will put forward the proposal for example wage increment. The duty to bargain is only limited to the mandatory subjects, and in other cases, the parties are free to bargain or not to bargain and to agree or not to agree (Degni et al. 37). Mandatory bargaining issues fall in the statutory phrase and are meant to settle the aspect of the relationship between employers and employees. The two parties do not have to necessarily reach an agreement when a proposal is made although they must bargain in good faith over the subject (Degni et al. 37). Subjects such as pensions and job duties may be considered as non-issues, yet they are the are the primary causes of strikes, hence the need to address them once they arise.
Voluntary bargaining issues refer to the subjects that are not related directly to work including the make-up of the employer’s board of trustees and supervisor’s conditions of employment (Degni et al. 39). In this case, the parties can still agree to discuss the issues raised. However, either party can still decline to discuss the issues since they are not recognized by the law. The subjects fall outside wages and working conditions, and therefore, emphasis on the point of an impasse regarding the agreement is a violation (Degni et al. 39). It should also be noted that internal union-related matters are not subject to discussion by employees. In any case, the voluntary bargaining issues do not affect the employees directly meaning that a solution can always be arrived at without their presence.
On the other hand, illegal bargaining issues are those that either party has no chance to bargain over or review (Degni et al. 40). Issues such as discrimination based on marital status, sex, disability, and age, are a violation of the law, and cannot be bargained over despite agreement between the parties. The issues falling into this category are controversial and violate the state or federal laws. An issue such as the hot cargo agreement that deters an employer from dealing with another employer, especially one involved in labor disputes, is controversial as it interferes with the personal life of an employer. Also, an issue such as the closed shop provision falls under the illegal bargaining issues given that it is controversial in that it requires an employee to join a union before being hired. The closed shop agreement, banned in 1947 by Taft-Hartley, was for a long time considered beneficial to the members (Degni et al. 41). This is because of the belief that all employees received greater benefits from collective bargaining overseen by closed shops as compared to individual employees. The agreement that required employees to contribute to the union as they were beneficiaries of the collective bargaining process has since been banned.
Degni, Eli K., et al. “Labor and Management Relations: Historical Perspectives and Current Trends.” (2015). Retrieved June 18, 2017, from http://escholarshare.drake.edu/bitstream/handle/2092/2113/Degni_MPA_260_2015.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y