Grading Rubric for Cases
Your grade is a combination of the following elements:
1. Appropriate length of answer. One paragraph per question answered. Individual question minimum of 3 well-structured sentences in 12 point font.
2. Identification of correct human resource or management topic.
3. Full quality answers which include research to determine how to apply standards, regulations, or laws covering human resources. These cases require you to research current federal employment law, regulations, and issues in order to answer them correctly. Review “Website resources” tab. Also you can google topics, laws, cases, etc.
4. Correct notation of sources listed at the bottom of each answered case. You should list the textbook and any websites or other resources you used; cite direct quotes from sources in parenthesis and put (author’s last name, page #).
Case #98 – “Union Organizing at SGA Industries”, p. 276. You will need to read through this case and answer the questions on page 279. You will definitely need to research this information to understand employee and employer rights under the National Labor Relations Act. You might also want to visit the National Labor Relations Board website for more information. You can google to find this website or other information to help you answer this case. You have 3 questions to answer on page 279 and each answer should be very detailed.
Your answer should be at least 2-3 pages with references listed at the end of the document on page 4 and in MLA 7th edition format
****** QUESTIONS SHOULD BE LISTED AND NUMBERED WITH ANSWERS PROVIDED BELOW *****
Instructors Manual – Use Only as Guide – Plagiarism Software will be used!!!
98. CASE: UNION ORGANIZING AT SGA INDUSTRIES
This case focuses on the union representation election process. Specifically the case addresses events leading up to the filing of the petition for the election and management’s response to the union’s campaign.
Possible learning outcomes for students include:
1. A better understanding of why workers seek union representation.
2. Introducing the students to possible illegal activities (management unfair labor practices) during the representation election process.
3. To illustrate the importance of management developing a well defined strategy to manage their response to union organizing efforts.
Instructors should stay abreast of current legislation under consideration in Congress with respect to the Representation Election Process. The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) would dramatically alter the Representation Election Process if passed in its initial form, including the elimination of the secret ballot election process. The following link to govtrack.us provides information on the status of the EFCA
The next two links provide alternative viewpoints concerning the act.
There are several factors leading up to the election that you will want to explore. Initially, the change in ownership of SGA and the resulting change in management style may be a jumping off point for discussion. SGA under Anderson family leadership was a steady job provider in an unstable industry. This coupled with the company’s generosity to employees and their towns were instrumental in defeating the earlier union drive. While Phillips initially made substantial efforts to improve the organization and the community, the change in ownership signaled an end to the benevolent paternalism that previously characterized employee relations at SGA. Now, the emphasis would be on increased performance and productivity.
While the change in ownership and management style were substantial jolts to SGA’s employees and the community, the situation created by growing foreign competition and imports led to additional problems for SGA management. Reeling from a $16 million drop in sales, SGA was forced to layoff 1,500 employees, reduce pay scales, and rescind many of the perks that the workers had enjoyed under the Anderson family.
The composition of SGA’s work force is also an issue that may be developed early in your class discussion of events leading up to the election. Females have generally not been as receptive to union organizing efforts in the past while minorities have.
There are several questions to explore in the analysis of SGA’s response to the organizing effort. You will want to re-emphasize the fact that the manner in which SGA management found out about the effort was not typical of the vast majority of organizing efforts that take place. The fact that the union was very open with respect to its efforts to organize SGA employees well in advance of filing a petition gave management ample opportunity to study the factors leading up to the campaign and develop an appropriate response to defeat the effort.
Key factors to explore include the utilization of community support and the outside law firm to develop strategy and policy associated with management’s response. The fact that SGA had been an important force in the economic development of the community for such a long time should have enabled SGA’s management ample opportunity to become involved in political and social affairs of the community. This certainly would give SGA the inside track and enable the labeling of the union as an outside threat to the quality of work life of Anderson and SGA employees. Since very few firms keep qualified staff on board who possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities to mount an effective campaign against union organizing, the use of the outside law firm in this situation should provide management with up to date information in developing its strategy. The direct contact with employees that Phillips and White engaged in previously might have been viewed as unacceptable conduct during the campaign process. In light of the 1985 National Labor Relations Board decisions which approved some means of direct dealing between the employer and its employees in organizing situations, Phillips and White made numerous forays into the plants to explain SGA’s feelings on the issues. In addition, the letter home (see the exhibit) in times past may have been construed as a threat or misleading, thus providing grounds to set the election results aside. In the Tri Cast, Inc, case (274 NLRB No. 59 (1985) ) the board found that statements like those made by Phillips in his letter to SGA employees are reasonable and permissible. (See Managers Newsfront, “NLRB and Reasonable Election Conduct,” Personnel Journal, June 1985, pp. 33-35.)
This case is based on an actual union organizing effort. The union tried for a third time and they lost by 200 votes. The effort was unsuccessful for a second time and the union lost by over 1,000 votes.
IV. ANSWERS TO CASE QUESTIONS
1. What was the impetus for the union organizing effort at SGA Mills?
Several factors may be addressed in answering this question. Paramount in any discussion here will be the threat of additional loss of job security as a result of the changing management and economic conditions. SGA, previously known as a steady job provider in an unstable industry now focused more on performance and productivity rather than benevolent paternalism. In the wake of 1,500 layoffs and reductions in benefits, long-term job security was certainly a key issue. In addition, was Phillips really interested in the long-term survival of SGA?
2. Discuss SGA’s strategy in managing the representation campaign?
SGA played it by the book all the way to the end. They obtained expert legal advice from the outside. Management was actually able to portray the union as the outsider even though the union had set up shop in downtown Anderson well in advance of filing for a petition calling for an election. In addition, the company’s ability to develop strong community support for its side in the campaign plus the formation of the Anti Union Committee by employees were keys to defeating the union.
3. Discuss any potential unfair labor practice charges SGA management might face as a result of their campaign strategy?
As was mentioned in the answer to question 2, SGA played this one by the book. Recent NLRB decisions enabled SGA to engage in a tremendous amount of personal contact with employees. The letter home, previously may have been grounds for an unfair labor practice charge but given recent NLRB decisions this letter was probably permissible.