1. Contractually stipulated cooperation programs between unions and management can be an effective way to resolve disputes, or prevent potential disputes from occurring. They are realistic and workable provided both management and unions agree to the terms on the contract, although they should also be open to renegotiation should circumstances change. For instance, if an organization that employs union members needs to make significant operational changes in order to remain competitive, it may need to renegotiate the terms of the contract.

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Conversely, if a particular stipulation such as overtime pay or other benefit is not present on the initial contract or needs to be renegotiated, there should be a process allowing for contracts to be revisited. One way this could be done would be through contracts that have an expiration date, therefore allowing for a regular review process. Without specific programs identifying proper procedures, any dispute might result in a strike or other union activity that can be unnecessarily disruptive. Contractually stipulated cooperation programs allow for any potential grievance to be discussed before it becomes worse.

2. Optimal design for grievance proceedings in a union contract should include a process where grievances can be aired without fear of reprimand, and mediation should occur before any decisive action regarding a grievance is taken. Grievances should also first be discussed with a union representative rather than other union members, so the representative can consider the merits of the grievance. Mediation presumes that both sides are acting in good faith and seek a resolution or compromise (Knight, 2012). Arbitration should only occur when compromise does not seem to be achievable. In situations where a dispute cannot be resolved through mediation, arbitration can provide an objective review of the circumstances and recommend a resolution that can be agreed upon by both parties. As long as both sides agree with the method of arbitration and are willing to adhere to any recommendations made following arbitration procedures, disputes can still be resolved when fundamental disagreements occur.

  • Knight, T. R. (2012). The role of the duty of fair representation in union grievance decisions. Industrial Relations, 67, pp. 716-736.