Multi-national Corporations and Labor Unions


Multi-nationalCorporations and Labor Unions

Answerto question 1:

Recently,national and international labor unions have complained about thevarious challenges they are facing from multi-national corporations.According to Sloane and Witney (2010), international corporations indeveloped nations are avoiding labor negotiations that do not favortheir business, and expanding to developing nations where labor costsare significantly low. Many multi-national corporations prefer toexplore foreign countries through merges. In the process of merging,the corporations bring under one umbrella several unions and use themto their advantage. The fact that there are rivalry and highcompetition among unions makes it easy for the corporations to playone union against the other, making it difficult for unions tobargain efficiently for their clients` rights.

Someforeign countries pose the greater roadblock to &quotone big globalunion&quot than others simply because of their varying perceptionsof the union. In some nations, organized labor is strong while, inothers, the unions are weak, or do not exist at all. For instance, inFinland and Sweden over 80% of labor is unionized compared to Franceand Spain, which less than 10% have organized labor (Sloane andWitney, 2010). In some countries, organized labor has proved to beinefficient and disorganized hence have lost popularity. In suchcountries, employees fear the consequences that result fromnon-performing labor unions.

Answerto question 2

Duringthe initial stages of negotiation, the negotiating parties’positions remain far apart. However, with time, the two parties usetactics and by the time they get to the final stages of negotiations,they eventually draw an agreement pattern (Sloane and Witney, 2010).Some of the strategies to come into an agreement are trading pointsand counter-proposals. The trading point strategy is used bycorporations’ management to assess union demands and prioritize.For instance, a union might demand for a union shop and an increasein the wage of $1.7 per hour. The management might use the shop as atrading point to lower the wage increased. In such a case, themanagement might agree to the demand of a union shop but use it tonegotiate a lower wage increase. Counter-proposals involve thecompromises that are made before the final decision of thenegotiation is made (Sloane and Witney, 2010). For instance, a unionmight demand a wage increase of $1.4 per hour. However, it mightagree to a wage increase of $0.7 per hour. In such a case, theunion’s initial demands are compromised but for the two parties toreach an agreement the union has no other option but to take what isoffered at the negotiating table.

Answerto question 3

  1. Bypassing the difficult issues

Thefirst independent variable that affects what is accomplished at thenegotiating table is bypassing the difficult issues. According toSloane and Witney, to ensure that the negotiation process flowssmoothly, it is important to settle the easy issues first and latertackle the difficult ones (2010). For instance, the areas where themanagement and union completely disagree can be left to be addressedin the last stages of the negotiation process.

  1. Human relations mistakes

Thesecond factor that determines what is accomplished at the end of thenegotiation process is human relations mistakes. In some instances,one party may present a demand that is totally impractical to beincluded in the contract. However, instead of criticizing the personwho made the demand, it is advisable for the other side to use politewords when commenting. The choice of words at the negotiating tableis important to maintain good relations to enable the smooth flow ofthe negotiation process.

  1. Framing of alternative

Thethird variable is the advance framing of alternatives. Each of thenegotiating parties should be ready to propose or accept alternativesolutions to a problem. For instance, the management may propose thatit be given the full authority without any restrictions to assignovertime duties to its workers. At the same time, it should beprepared to propose alternative solutions in case of strongopposition to the proposal. In this case, the management may proposethat seniority be the basis for overtime rotational as long as theemployees have the capacity to carry out the duties in question.

  1. Joint study group

Thefourth strategy that is used in avoiding negotiation breakdown is ajoint study group. The joint study group should comprise ofindividuals from both parties, who have the capacity and intellect tofind the solution to difficult issues. Insurance systems and pensionplans are some of the tough issues that the joint study groups istasked with (Sloane and Witney, 2010).

  1. Mediation

Thelast but not the least variable is mediation. When a crisis occursduring the negotiation process, it is important to bring in amediator. For instance, when the two parties totally disagree aboutsomething, a neutral citizen should be consulted to act as a mediatorand help the two parties resolve their disagreements.

Answerto question 4

Themanagement and union should start preparation way long before gettingto the negotiating table. According to Sloaneand Witney, the changing global world is significantly changing manyaspects affecting both the employer and employee (2010). Therefore,both parties need to gather vast information on various issues beforethe commencement o the negotiation process. For instance, the currentwage clause is expansive in nature including issues such as labor-jobgrade categorization, pay steps within labor ranges and discrepanciesfor unwanted types of work to name but a few. The unions shouldconsider collecting information on changing trends about the numberof hours worked. For instance, currently, the premium pay for work onholidays, Saturdays and Sundays has gone up. Sloane and Witney(2010) explain that it is important for the two parties to equipthemselves with adequate information about the changing issues suchas employee benefits and an administrative clause that affect thelabor-management contract before getting to the negotiating table.For instance, currently, the administrative clause encompasses manyissues such as discipline, seniority rights, and workload sizes amongothers.

Onegood source of valid information that the management and labor canrely on is the U.S Department of Labor`s Bureau of Labor Statistics.The two parties can also utilize their research department to gatherinformation that is tailored to meet their specific needs. It isimportant to hire outside research academicians and experts to helpin carrying out an in-depth research to extract as much informationas possible to help in the negotiation process. With the developmentof technology, the internet has also become an important source ofviable information.


Sloane,A. A., &amp Witney, F. (2010). Laborrelations(13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.