Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations: Volume 20


Table of contents

(13 chapters)

Volume 20 of Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations (AILR) contains seven chapters that deal with important aspects of employment relationships in a variety of industries, countries, and research contexts. The first three papers, each of which analyzes the effects of an exogenous variable (e.g., fiscal adversity, globalization, and new technology) on labor–management relations, have specific industry/sector settings, namely, public schools (primary education), civil aviation, and nursing homes (health care), respectively. The first and third of these chapters are set in the United States, the second in Britain. The next four chapters, each of which analyzes the effects of enacted or contemplated legislation on specific aspects of labor–management relations and workplace dispute resolution, are set in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, respectively. The research designs featured in these papers include quasiexperimental, case studies, interviews, surveys, and simultaneous equation modeling.

Over the past decade the policy debate over improving U.S. public education has focused on market solutions (charter schools, privatization, and vouchers) and teacher evaluation through high stakes standardized testing of students. In this debate, teachers and their unions are often characterized as the problem. Our research offers an alternate path in the debate, a perspective that looks at schools as systems – the way schools are organized and the way decisions are made. We focus on examples of collaboration through the creation of long-term labor-management partnerships among teachers’ unions and school administrators that improve and restructure public schools from the inside to enhance planning, decision-making, problem solving, and the ways teachers interact and schools are organized. We analyzed how these efforts were created and sustained in six public school districts over the past two decades, and what they can teach us about the impact of significant involvement of faculty and their local union leadership, working closely with district administration. We argue that collaboration between teachers, their unions, and administrators is both possible and necessary for any meaningful and lasting public school reform.

This chapter discusses the power of trade unions within the UK civil aviation industry, focusing specifically on the British Air Line Pilots’ Association (BALPA) that represents flight crew. The deleterious effects of the contemporary legislative and competitive environment of air transportation on the ability of BALPA to exact concessions from airline management are discussed as are the changes to the nature of work of flight crew that impact on the structural dimensions from which BALPA derives its power. These are weighed against the associational dimension of BALPA's power base, in particular the willingness of pilots to engage in active militancy. The chapter also considers possible organizing strategies for BALPA in order to challenge managerial prerogative in the industry.

This chapter presents an overview of our evaluation of the introduction of electronic medical records (EMR) in 20 nursing homes located in the New York City region. These organizations were part of an EMR demonstration project cosponsored by the for-profit segment of the nursing home industry in the region and 1199SEIU United Health Care Workers East, the union that represented frontline staff in these organizations. We report central lessons from our evaluation, which took place over the course of four years and included multiple data sources. The primary purpose of our research was to examine the effects of EMR adoption on employment and labor relations in the participating organizations. Findings are based on a longitudinal study of EMR adoption in 15 of the 20 organizations that received the EMR technology and five “control” organizations, which did not receive the technology, employing a mixed methodological design with both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. Results from our research inform the existing EMR adoption discussion in two ways. First, we find mixed evidence associated with EMR implementation. The adoption of this new technology enhances certain organizational outcomes, but it seems to hinder others. Second, findings from our research highlight the importance of preexisting organizational factors as predictors of EMR-associated outcomes. EMR-associated outcomes, positive or negative, are likely to be contingent on key organizational characteristics and on managerial adoption strategies. Our study's findings imply that the meaningful use of EMR needs to take into account not only the technical specifications of EMR but also the organizational characteristics of the physician practices and healthcare facilities adopting the technology. Healthcare organizations vary in their capacity and ability to make optimal use of health information technology, which should be incorporated into public policy and organizational practices designed to increase adoption.

The merits and demerits of replacement worker legislation continue to be a point of contention. This chapter provides empirical evidence of the impact of replacement worker bans on the outcomes of collective bargaining for the period of 1967–2009. Compared to the existing literature, this study has the advantage of using a merger of two previously separate administrative databases – the collective agreement and work stoppage databases from the Labour Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). Under a temporary replacement worker ban, work stoppage incidence increases in the service sector, but decreases in the nonservice sector; work stoppages last longer but the wage settlements grow more slowly in both sectors. A permanent replacement worker ban increases the work stoppage incidence in the service sector and lowers the wage growth rate in the nonservice sector.

It is over 25 years since the Hancock Report recommended that Australian enterprises implement workplace level procedures for the resolution of disputes and grievances. Legislation now requires that all enterprise agreements contain dispute settlement procedures (DSPs). While most large organisations have enterprise agreements – and therefore DSPs – there is very little empirical research into how and whether Australian organisations use these DSPs – let alone what broader role they may play in regulating the employer–employee relationship. This chapter seeks to provide answers to these questions.

This chapter presents the results of three case studies of large organisations: a bank, a retailer and a state government agency. These organisations have been chosen from a larger group of case studies to illustrate three approaches to the management of workplace disputes. The organisations share certain features such as: the effective use of workplace procedures to resolve the great majority of workplace disputes; and the adoption of a ‘dual system’ with internal grievance procedures playing a role alongside DSPs. However they vary considerably in their approach to dispute resolution. The Bank's ‘strategic’ approach involves a comprehensive conflict management system. The State government agency's ‘reactive’ approach to workplace conflict resolution gives a much greater role for third parties, while the Retailer's ‘pragmatic’ approach incorporates elements from both the other two approaches.

The chapter discusses the implications of this diversity of approach for human resource management, organisational justice and workplace relations.

A “new” interpretation of Section 7 in the National Labor Relations Act could serve as the basis of union renewal, in enabling and supporting non-majority, non-exclusive representation as an alternative to the difficulties of union certification. One potential shortcoming of this form of representation is interunion conflict associated with ongoing competition between unions trying to attract each other's members in the same bargaining units. However, interview evidence collected from union executives in New Zealand, where non-majority, non-exclusive representation already exists, suggests that such conflict is normally limited. Focusing representation on areas that make the most sense (for both unions and workers) and following union federation protocols, when conflicts occur, have both contributed to the overall low conflict level. Lessons for US unionism are explored.

This chapter examines the rise and fall of the Commission on the Future of Worker-Management Relations (Dunlop Commission) in the early 1990s. It uses the events surrounding the Commission to provide an insight into the dynamics of the struggle over federal labor law reform. The inability of the Dunlop Commission to get labor and management representatives to agree on proposals for labor law reform demonstrated, yet again, that employer opposition is the greatest obstacle to the protection of organizing rights and modernization of labor law. For the nation's major management associations, labor law reform is a life and death issue, and nothing is more important to them than defeating revisions to the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) intended to strengthen organizing rights. The failure of labor law reform in the 1990s also demonstrated that the labor movement would never win reform by means of an “inside the beltway” legislative campaign – designed to push reform through the US Senate – because the principal employer organizations would always exercise more influence in Congress. Instead, unions must engage with public opinion, and convince union and nonunion members about the importance of reform. Thus far, however, they lack an effective language with which to do this.

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Advances in Industrial & Labor Relations
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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