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Happy Trails Labor Relations Unionization

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Provide answers to the below questions based on the Happy Trails scenario. (Provide any references used.)

The independent living home management team has asked for your advice:

1. What would you advise the independent living home management to do? Should they oppose unionization?
2. What arguments or defenses might the hospital raise to the union's organizing issues?
3. If the company elects to resist unionization, what steps must the company follow?
4. What unfair labor practices need to be avoided by management?

Happy Trails, LLC. is a medium-sized independent living home, a for-profit facility located in a suburban environment. Due to traffic and road congestion, this eldercare facility is the most convenient independent living home near the city. Independent living homes in the city offer many of the same services as Happy Trails, but are more expensive. The elderly may go to a several hospitals for acute health care issues.

In a response to the changing economy and patient access from the suburban areas to the city, Happy Trails has taken some measures to compete, become more attractive, and build on its long-term care for patients in the surrounding areas. It has reduced overtime allotments of its seasoned patient care staff, and has terminated several registered nurses. As the registered nurses leave Happy Trails, they are replaced by Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), who receive lower compensation and fewer benefits.

The health care facilities in the city are unionized and are well represented by an experienced union business agent. The union has recently negotiated superior wages and benefits at the independent living homes in the city.

In terms of the health care professionals employed there, Happy Trails is not so happy now because the union representing the other facilities has received the attention of the Happy Trails LPNs.

You are part of a group of individuals who are members of a consulting firm. You are responsible for advising them regarding the following questions:

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1. What would you advise the independent living home management to do? Should they oppose unionization?

The management should oppose unionization. The reason is that Happy Trails has a specific role in the independent living homes market in the city. The strategy of Happy Trails is to provide a low cost alternative to the more expensive living homes in the city. To maintain its competitive position, Happy Trails must offer lower prices to its customers. In other words it is the business necessity of Happy Trails to keep the cost of the independent living home low. For keeping its costs low, Happy Trails has recruited Licensed Practical Nurses instead of registered nurses. The purpose of unions in the city has been to increase the wage and benefits of independent living homes in the city. Now if there is a union formation of the Licensed Practical Nurses at Happy Trails, the management will be compelled to pay higher wages and benefits to Licensed Practical Nurses. This will either reduce the profits of Happy Trails or will increase the prices Happy Trails is charging to its customers. In either situation unionization of Licensed Practical Nurses is against the business ...

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