Organizing the Collective Bargaining Efforts


Discussion Instructions You are a labor relations consultant working for the Board of County Commissioners in your town. A dispute has arisen between the County’s Firefighters and their management regarding the lack of upward mobility and non-competitive low wages. There is talk of a union-organizing campaign. You hear that one of the Commissioners is a friend of the Fire Chief and has offered the Fire Chief an all-expense paid vacation if he is able to influence the firefighters and stop the unionization effort.  Describe the critical issues in this scenario. How would you organize the collective bargaining efforts with HRM? What bargaining items can be discussed at the negotiation table? What ethical issues should be addressed and how? 


Student Discussion Post

Collective Bargaining and Ethics

Critical Issues

As a labor relations consultant working for the Board of County Commissioners, I would first find great unrest with one of the Commissioners being a friend of the Fire Chief because there lies a great conflict-of-interest between the two because they have a personal relationship. Secondly, another critical issue would be the bribery by the Commissioner to the Fire Chief to influence and stop the unionization effort. Thirdly, there is cause for concern that the County’s Firefighters feel that there is a lack of upward mobility and non-competitive low wages, as “Job satisfaction is an important organizational construct. It usually refers to ‘a positive (or negative) evaluative judgment one makes about one’s job or job situation’” (Schiopu, 2015, p. 278). It is of great alarm that the County’s Firefighters are expressing dissatisfaction in their job role/function. It is important then to establish empowerment amongst employees to build motivation.

Organizing the Collective Bargaining Efforts

To organize the collective bargaining efforts with HRM, it is vital (as a labor relations consultant) to first do my research on the collective bargaining guidelines and laws in the respective state/city (in this example it would be Baltimore, Maryland) because “Average outcomes in states with strong collective bargaining rights may differ from outcomes in states without them for many reasons besides the causal impact of collective bargaining rights. Likewise, comparisons of outcomes within a state before and after a change in collective bargaining rights could reflect longer term trends in the state, which themselves led to changes in collective bargaining laws, rather than the effect of the laws themselves” (Frandsen, 2016, p. 85). This will allow me to understand what I can negotiate with HRM.

Once research is complete, I would organize/list all the grievances of the County’s Firefighters. Specifically, what type of upward mobility opportunities do they desire to have; additionally, what is the desired wage desired.  Further, I would gauge (from the Firefighters) how long they feel these critical issues have been a point-of-concern. Lastly, it is necessary to interview some of the Firefighters to determine how the stated issues have affected the morale, job satisfaction, and motivation of the employees. This information is important because it will provide the labor relations consultant (me) with what issues to discuss at the negotiation table. With that, the bargaining items that can be discussed at the negotiation table are the lack of upward mobility opportunities and non-competitive low wages.  Frandsen (2016) found, “For firefighters… the evidence suggests collective bargaining laws substantially increase hourly wages, with a smaller and statistically insignificant reduction in hours” (Frandsen, 2016, p. 86).

Ethical Issues to Address

When one thinks of ethics, he/she may believe that, “The morally correct action is the one that the person has a moral right to do, that does not infringe on the moral rights of others, and that furthers the moral rights of others” (Schumann, 2001, p. 97). Therefore, it is important to address the ethical issues of the Commissioners offering bribery to the Fire Chief to assist stopping the unionization effort; and for the Commissioners give an all expense vacation if he is able to influence the firefighters to stop the unionization. Those issues would be addressed by speaking directly with HR, after the collective bargaining efforts are complete so not to overlap bargaining efforts with ethical issues.



Frandsen, B. R. (2016). The effects of collective bargaining rights on public

employee compensation. Industrial & Labor Relations Review69(1), 84-             112. doi:10.1177/0019793915603068


Şchiopu, A. F. (2015). Workplace emotions and job satisfaction. International Journal Of Economic

Practices & Theories5(3), 277-282.


Schumann, P. L. (2001). A moral principles framework for human resource m

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