Case Study: Collective Bargaining
at West University
Universities are not known to have union activity. However, a case involving resident assistants at the West University requested to be represented by UAW (United Auto Workers) union for collective bargaining
. The case reviews regulating labor relations, contract negotiations, labor management, and union activity.
Here are several tips for successfully completing this case study:
You should incorporate information from the textbook, the lectures, and/or the discussions to support your position. In other words, tell me more than just your opinion. Provide some relevant facts from the course material to support your position.
Make sure to fully explore your thoughts with each question.
Your answer for EACH question must be within the range of 250 to 350 words. Be sure to answer each question fully, because you are subject to point deductions for incomplete answers. Use 1.5 line spacing. Also, please remember you will be using information supporting your position from sources such as our textbook, articles, and the Internet. You MUST use proper APA citations and references. See the Syllabus for an APA tutorial. Also, do not rely too heavily on borrowed material. It should NOT dominate your work. Point deductions will occur if more than 15% of the answer is borrowed. I want to read YOUR thoughts on these questions.
Read the following case study and answer the questions found in the section below.
West University is a large college located in Phoenix, Arizona. Since its inception, the university experienced tremendous growth. The campus is located on 1,200 acres with more than 20,000 students providing on-campus housing to more than 11,000 students. Residential Life, a department within Housing Services, provides support for all aspects of the student's experience in the residence halls. There were 30 residence halls supervised by area directors (ADs), 23 resident directors (RDs) supervising the staff and office operations, and 32 graduate student assistant resident directors (ARDs) who reported to and assisted the RDs and co-supervised 300 RAs . Resident assistants (RAs) are undergraduate students who live on a floor in a residence hall.
The major responsibilities and duties of RAs can be broken into eight areas:
University Community building.
Resource and referral agent.
Crisis intervention and management.
Staff meetings and schedule coverage.
General 0olicy management.
RAs hired were required to sign a job description and a resident assistant Memo of Understanding (MOU). The MOU outlined the terms and conditions of the position including compensation, work hours, GPA standards and several other requirements. An RA who worked a minimum of two semesters, was enrolled in the university with at least a 2.5 GPA, and not received formal punishment from the university could be considered for a community development assistant (CDA) position. The CDA was a mentor to RAs and assisted with problems. CDA compensation and other work-related requirements were identical to those of RAs.
Human Resource Policies for RAs and CDAs
RAs and CDAs had mandatory requirements to arrive on campus three days before each semester begins for mandatory training and building preparation. There was a 20-hour-per-week time commitment that included a stipend of $1,820 for the academic year with deductions for federal and state income taxes. RDs are their direct supervisors, conducted their performance reviews, and maintained their personnel files. RAs and CDAs who violated disciplinary guidelines were subject to a progressive disciplinary procedure.
on the West University Campus
Public employees were granted the right to join unions, present proposals to public employers but there were no obligations for these employers to engage in bargaining
with these public employee unions. A few unions were active at the West University. Collective bargaining
rights were granted to most of the public employees by passage of the state's general law allowing them to form, join or participate in unions. The law also granted bargaining
collectively over terms and conditions of employment.
West University recognized the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO), an affiliate of the United Auto Workers, as the collective bargaining
representative for a variety of graduate student positions including teaching assistants, research assistants and ARDs. The West University now had a workforce that was predominantly unionized and a climate where unionization and collective bargaining
were common aspects of university life.
The RAs are challenged with disciplining residents, dealing with the retaliation and disgruntled residents. There was a 55 percent RA turnover rate. RAs were fired and some felt this was questionable and unwarranted when a resident doing the same thing was given a written warning. Grievance committees were formed and many meeting occurred but to no avail. There were also concerns with compensation. Some RAs approached the GEO to discuss the opportunity to form an RA union. The GEO agreed the concerns and complaints were similar to other workers. A committee was organized to gather enough signatures to declare representation by the United Auto Workers for collective bargaining
. The majority of the RAs and CDAs signed and the request was sent to the University for voluntary recognition and it was denied because undergraduates are students. Those RAs/CDAs who opposed the union representation thought the others were over reacting. During the last hiring, twice as many applicants applied than positions available. As for firing, 12 out of 600 RAs were terminated over the last two years.
The University contacted the state labor relations commission (LRC) to dismiss the petition because the law did not require collective bargaining
for those who perform services as students. The commission determined that the RAs and CDAs could legally organize and engage in collective bargaining
. A secret ballot election was to be held to determine the preference of the employees.
Does the labor law encourage or discourage unionization?
Do you think teaching assistants should be considered employees?
Do you think management's reaction to employee interest in unionization differs if the employer already has a high union density among other employee groups?
What are the key factors that led some RAs to have interest in union representation? Do you think that RAs have legitimate job-related concerns, or are the RA complaints overstated?
Do the RAs opposed to unionization have legitimate concerns? How could unionization change the culture of Residence Life?
How does the law regarding union recognition for public employees in this state compare with the NLRA rules regarding union recognition for private-sector employees?
Why did the LRC determine that RAs and CDAs were employees? Do you agree with the LRC decision? Why? Why not?
Statistical data retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm .
After reviewing the case study, answer the following learning questions:
1. Does the labor law encourage or discourage unionization?
2. Do you think teaching assistants should be considered employees?
3. Do you think management's reaction to employee interest in unionization differs if the employer already has a high union density among other employee groups?
4. What are the key factors that led some RAs to have interest in union representation? Do you think that RAs have legitimate job-related concerns, or are the RA complaints overstated?
5. Do the RAs opposed to unionization have legitimate concerns? How could unionization change the culture of Residence Life?
6. How does the law regarding union recognition for public employees in this state compare with the NLRA rules regarding union recognition for private-sector employees?
7. Why did the LRC determine that RAs and CDAs were employees? Do you agree with the LRC decision? Why? Why not?
You must NUMBER your responses on your assignment. You do not need to repeat the questions above. Please title your assignment with your LAST NAME and week number (e.g., SmithWeek2.docx). Also make sure to include your name, date, and assignment information on your assignment paper.
Submit it to the Case Study Dropbox located on the silver tab at the top of this page.
For instructions on how to use the Dropbox, read these step-by-step instructions or watch this Dropbox tutorial. See the Syllabus section "Due Dates for Assignments & Exams" for due date information.
I will grade your assignment and post the grade and comments in the Gradebook. Please let me know if you have any questions!
Note! Please use APA formatting in your papers this term. There is an APA handbook and tutorial links in the syllabus. Our online librarians and Tutor Source are also good places for APA help. Or, try The APA guide video in THElHUB.
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