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Case Study: Outsourcing of Union positions

7. Outsourcing

Facts:

The company allowed a nonbargaining unit employee to repair an electrical relay on the plant's security system, and the union filed a grievance. The union contended that the contract was violated because it prohibits supervisors from performing the work normally performed by members of the bargaining union except in emergencies, for training purposes, or to check equipment. The company's position was that maintenance of the plant's security system is work not normally performed by the union members but contracted out to an outside contractor. Therefore, the repair is not within the scope of the contract. The union acknowledged that the normal maintenance is done by an outside contractor but contended that those contracts were entered pursuant to provisions of the collective bargaining agreement that stated that prior to outside contracting, the company and union would agree on the scope of the contract. The scope of this contract did not allow supervisors to perform the work. It was the union's position that it agreed to have an outside contractor maintain the security system but not to allow supervisors to make repairs on the system. The union believed it has some control on the scope of outside contracts but none on work assigned to supervisors.

Decision:

The arbitrator decided this grievance on the past practice of the parties. Union members had never maintained the security system. Because it had not, it was not work normally done by the unit members; therefore, the section prohibiting supervisors from performing the work did not apply. The union's point on agreeing to the scope of an outside contract only was simply dismissed as irrelevant to this case.

Questions:

a. As the arbitrator in this case, would you rule for the union or the company? Why?
b. Give reasons why the union would prefer that outside contractors perform the work rather than supervisors.
c. Give reasons why the company would prefer using supervisors rather than an outside contractor to perform the work.

Attachments

Solution Preview

You have asked for a response to the attached questions based on the outsourcing scenario provided. I have provided responses to the questions below based on generally accepted Union practices and fiscally responsible organizational practice.

Questions

a. As the arbitrator in this case, would you rule for the union or the company? Why?

I would have ruled the same as the arbitrator did in this situation, but ONLY because the work that was done did not take away from the job of any bargaining unit employee. If a supervisor is doing the work normally done by a bargaining unit employee, then not only is that employee losing ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides a response to the attached questions based on the outsourcing scenario provided. The responses to the questions are based on generally accepted Union practices and fiscally responsible organizational practice.

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