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Managers manage

Unions Administer the Contract

Management of Complexity

Management of Complexity (Photo credit: michael.heiss)

I had a discussion the other day that I haven’t had for quite a few years.  

It usually goes something like this:  ”He’s a manager, but he says he can’t make his employees work because they tell him they have a union.”

This makes me crazy.  It’s not true, and it’s not that complicated. Manager’s direct the work as required by job descriptions,and classification assignment within the union contract. Employees perform the work as directed.

Rule #1 is managers retain their right to manage, even when a work force is covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement.   You may have to follow certain procedures, and you will likely face some limitations on what you can tell people to do, but you still retain the right to manage your business.

That’s why virtually every collective bargaining agreement contains a Management’s Rights clause that will include information like this, referenced below.

Management Rights clauses are contractual clauses found in union contracts that give management the ability to manage its business without interference from the union (except as agreed to).

While not all inclusive, below is a listing of typical Management Rights found in union contracts giving management the right to:

  • Hire employees
  • Direct, control and assign employees work
  • To establish schedule and hours of work
  • Determine qualifications of employees
  • Discipline employees and terminate employees for cause
  • Expand and reduce the number of employees
  • Layoff
  • Recall from layoff
  • Establish and enforce rules of conduct
  • Consolidate, tranfer, or close its operations
ARTICLE 7—MANAGEMENT RIGHTS


The management of the Employer’s operations and the direction of its employees, including but not limited to the rights: to hire, classify, promote, transfer, lay-off, recall, discipline, discharge for just cause, suspend, direct, control, and determine the qualifications of employees; to maintain order and efficiency and to establish and enforce rules and regulations as well as absentee tardiness policies, safety standards, work loads, and schedules of production; to determine the location and extent of the Employer’s operations and their commencement, expansion, curtailment or discontinuance; to select, introduce, discontinue, eliminate or change equipment, machinery, processes or services; and to schedule and assign work to the employees, shall remain vested exclusively with the Employer.

The above are by way of example only of rights vested exclusively in the Employer and all rights which the Employer would have but for the existence of a collective bargaining agreement, including the rights to continue or discontinue any past practice or benefit, except as specifically modified by this Agreement, are vested in the Employer’s discretion.

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