Lir 858 collective bargaining spring, 2010

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LIR 858


Spring, 2010

Richard N. Block

428 S. Kedzie Hall


Office Hours: By Appointment

Course Goals:
1. To provide an overview of the role of collective bargaining in employment relations and in society.
2. To provide an understanding of the legal, economic, organizational, political, and societal constraints in which collective bargaining in the United States operates, and the changes in those constraints.
3. To develop an understanding of the process of collective bargaining in the United States, with a special focus on the variety within the collective bargaining system.

  1. To provide an understanding of the most important issues with which the parties to collective bargaining in the United States must deal.

  1. To understand the effects of collective bargaining on various outcomes (firm performance, wages).

  1. To provide students with a simulation experience negotiating a collective bargaining agreement.

7. To give students some exposure to collective bargaining systems outside the United States

Course Textbooks:

Harry Katz,Thomas Kochan, and Alexander Colvin, An Introduction to Collective Bargaining and Industrial Relations, Fourth Edition, New York: McGraw-Hill, 2008 (hereinafter cited as Katz, Kochan, and Colvin)
Richard N. Block, John Beck, and Daniel H. Kruger, Labor Law, Industrial Relations, and Employee Choice Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 1996 (hereinafter cited as Block, Beck, and Kruger).
Richard N. Block, Ed., Bargaining for Competitiveness: Law, Research, and Case Studies, Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, 2003 (hereinafter cited as Block).
LIR 858 Coursepack, Spring, 2010, available through Dollarbill Copying at Student Bookstore, 417 E. Grand River Avenue, East Lansing
Course Work/Grading:

There will be no exams in the course. The assignments in the class represent a mixture of individual papers, group projects, and group and individual presentations. The required work assignments and their weights are listed below. Additional information about the assignments is provided at the end of this syllabus. This includes specific hints on standards for grading. Final grades are in increments of 4.0, 3.5, 3.0, etc., but assignment grades contain finer gradations.

10% Required Paper: Perspectives on collective bargaining (3 pages)
30% Short paper option (3 pages on any two of seven possible topics due on specified dates -- each paper is 15% of the final grade)
15% In-class group debate (group grade for one of 7 possible debate topics)
15% Required Paper: Contract comparison (3 pages)
20% Forms and settlement report for bargaining exercise (group grades)
10% Required Paper: Reflections on collective bargaining (3 pages)
There will be no deferred grades or incompletes given for the course. If you require accommodation for religious, disability,or other purposes, please make an appointment to discuss the matter with me.


(NOTE: With Notice to Students, Dates and Topics May Change Depending on The Availability of Possible Guest Speakers)

January 13 (Week 1)

Course Overview and Introduction

Class experiences with collective bargaining and industrial relations.
Bruce Kaufman, 1993. “The Origins of Industrial Relations” and “The Schism in Industrial Relations” (LIR 858 Coursepack).

January 20 (Week 2)

Theoretical Framework and Historical Context
Katz, Kochan, and Colvin, Chs. 1-2, “A Framework for Analyzing Collective Bargaining and Industrial Relations” and The Historical Evolution of the U.S. Industrial Relations System”
Richard Hyman. 1975. "What is Industrial Relations?" (LIR 858 Coursepack)
John Budd, 2004, “Objectives of the Employment Relationship" (LIR 858 Coursepack)
Biel and Wickerstam. 1967. “An Interpretation of American union History” (LIR 858 Coursepack)
John R. Commons, American Shoemaker, 1648-1895” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

January 27 (Week 3)

The Contexts of Bargaining: Legal, Social, Economic, Political

Block, Beck, and Kruger, Ch. 1, "Introduction and Overview"

Block, Ch. 2, Richard N. Block, “Competitiveness and Employment Protection and Creation”
Katz, Kochan, and Colvin, Ch. 4, "The Role of the Environment"
Richard N. Block, Peter Berg, and Dale Belman, 2004, “The Economic Dimension of the Employment Relationship (LIR 858 Coursepack)
Charles Craypo, “Sources of Union Bargaining Power” (LIR 858 Coursepack)
Richard N. Block, and Dale Belman, “Competitiveness and Employment Protection and Creation,” in Block.
Dale Belman and Richard N. Block, “The Impact of Collective Bargaining on Competitiveness and Employment,” in Block
February 3 (Week 4)

The Actors in Collective Bargaining: Employers and Unions

Katz, Kochan, and Colvin, Ch. 5 and 6, "Management Strategies and Structures for Collective Bargaining" and ”Union Strategies and Structures for Representing Workers”

Christopher Schenk. 2004. “Social Movement Unionism: Beyond the Organizing Model.” (LIR 858 Coursepack)
Janice Fine, “Origins and Characteristics of Worker Centers” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

February 10 (Week 5)
The Organizing Process; The Negotiation Process

Katz, Kochan, and Colvin, Chap. 7-8, "Union Organizing and Bargaining Structures" and The Negotiations Process and Strikes”

Block, Beck, and Kruger, Chapters. 2, 4.

Richard Walton, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, and Robert McKersie, “A Theory of Strategic Negotiations” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

Yates, Michael, “Chapter 4 Collective Bargaining” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

Charles Loughran, 1993, “Costing Contract Demands, Offers, and Settlements” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

February 17 (Week 6)

The Outcomes of Collective Bargaining: The Collective Bargaining Agreement

Katz, Kochan, and Colvin, Ch. 10, “Contract Terms and Employment”

February 24 (Week 7)
Contract Administration: Grievance Procedures and Arbitration
Ch. 11, Katz, Kochan, and Colvin, "Administering the Employment Relationship"
Richard B. Peterson and David Lewin, “Research on Unionized Grievance Procedures: Management Issues and Recommendations” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

March 3 (Week 8)
Models of Collective Bargaining Relationships: Conflict and Cooperation
Block, Beck, and Kruger, Chapter 3,
Richard N. Block, “Basic Aluminum;” Michael L. Moore and Richard N. Block, “Automobile Parts,” Michael J. Polzin and Peter Berg, “Health Care,” in Block.
Block and Berg, “Joint Responsibility Unionism: A Multiplant Model of Collective Bargaining Under Employment Security.” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

March 10
Spring Break

March 17 (Week 9)
Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector
Katz, Kochan, and Colvin, Chap. 13, “Collective Bargaining in the Public Sector”
Kate Bronfrenbrenner and Tom Juravich, 1994, “The Impact of Employer Opposition on Union Certification Win Rates” (LIR 858 Coursepack)
Richard Freeman, 1996, “Through Public Sector Eyes: Employee Attitudes Toward Public Sector Labor Relations in the United States” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

March 24 (Week 10)
Perspectives and Current Issues in Collective Bargaining and Industrial Relations
Thomas A. Kochan, 2001, “Can the U.S. Industrial Relations System be Transformed?” (LIR 858 Coursepack)
Chris Benner and Amy Dean, “Labor in the New Economy: Lesson from Labor Organizing in Silicon Valley” (LIR 858 Coursepack)
Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Joel, Steven Sleigh, and Frits Pil. “Collective Bargaining: Keeping Score on a Great American Institution.” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

March 31 (Week 11)
Flex date for rescheduling topics due to guest speakers or no class to prepare for collective bargaining

April 7 (Week 12)
Mock Negotiations
April 14 (Week 13)
Mock Negotiations

April 21 (Week 14)
Class Reports on Mock Negotiations

April 28 (Week 15)
Other Systems of Industrial Relations: The United States, Canada, Europe, Asia
Katz, Kochan, and Colvin, Chap 14 “International and Comparative Industrial Relations”
Harry C. Katz, 1993, “The Decentralization of Collective Bargaining: A Literature Review and Comparative Analysis” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

Frege, Heery, and Turner: “The New Solidarity? Trade Union Coalition-Building in Five Countries.” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

EPI Briefing Paper: Unions , the Economy, and Employee Free Choice by Harley Shaiken. (LIR 858 Coursepack)
Web Memo: “Employee Free Choice Act would Disenfranchise 105 Million Workers.” (LIR 858 Coursepack)

May 1 (Finals Week)
Final Paper Due

1Dates for topics are subject to change. Dates for debates and the mock bargaining and the due dates for assignments are not subject to change.

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