Running head: THE UNION DRIVE AT APOLLO CORPORATION The Union Drive at Apollo Corporation [Name of Student] Kaplan University MT203: Human Resource Management [Name of Professor] [Date of Submission] The Union Drive at Apollo Corporation The case study of labor relations at Apollo Corporation concentrates on the violations committed by the Human Resource Director with regards to the termination of employment of a long-time employee despite the employee having substandard qualities in terms of work performance as well as incoherence of company policies. This paper would present the events leading to the case of Bob Thomas, an employee who has been terminated after he had been discovered to be involved in the creation of a union in Apollo Corporation, the violations committed by the Human Resource Direction regarding the various labor relations laws and the justifications given by each party regarding their actions and decisions. The paper will also present recommendations on how such circumstances may be avoided by managers of this company and other companies in the future. Review/Analysis of the Case Apollo Corporation HR Director Jean Lipski had decided to meet up with managers of the company in order to modify the relationship between the supervisors and employees of the company. The company has been known to have a laid-back atmosphere in terms of its relationship with its employees. As a result, company policies such as the adherence of the employees to their attendance in the company and the disciplinary actions associated for the failure to comply with these policies were never implemented (Bohlander & Snell, 2007). However, because the company was involved in the highly competitive industry of the production of general component parts for communications, Lipski instructed the managers in the meeting she conducted with them to strengthen and tightening of the relationship between the supervisors of the company and its employees. This would be accomplished by the supervisors enforcing company policies and the corresponding disciplinary actions to employees who fail to adhere to these policies (Bohlander & Snell, 2007). Upon learning of the changes in the management being imposed by the Human Resource department, many employees were disgruntled. Bob Thomas was one of them. While he vocally expressed his frustrations regarding the changes in management relations with the employees, he secretly began to worry that he may be fired as a result of this. This was because his record for the previous years has been anything but satisfactory. He had been known in the company as a complainer, a trouble maker and highly critical of the management of the company. On top of this, his attendance record for the past five years has been extremely poor. This caused him to contact the union organizer of the Brotherhood of Machine Engineers. He expressed to the union organizer of his desire to begin a union drive in the company. The union organizer agreed to this and soon, Thomas began to distribute fliers to employees regarding the union. His activities reached Lipski. As a result, Lipski called Thomas to her office to advise him that he was being relieved from his position in the company on the grounds of having been evaluated to have substandard level in his work performance and a poor attendance record (Bohlander & Snell, 2007). After he was fired from Apollo Corporation, Thomas immediately contacted the union organizer and advised him of the circumstances surrounding his termination in the company. Together, Thomas and the union organizer headed to the regional office of the NLRB to file an unfair labor practice charge against the company on the grounds that Thomas was fired for being involved in the organization of the union in the company, using the reason of his poor work performance and attendance to justify the termination. Lipski, who had minimal experience dealing with unions, was deeply troubled regarding this situation particularly since she observed that the union was fully committed to unionize the employees of Apollo Corporation (Bohlander & Snell, 2007). Analysis of Findings In the United States, employees and employers are governed by labor relation laws in order to create an environment to allow them to exercise both their rights and responsibilities. In the case of Bob Thomas, however, the Human Resource department in the person of Jean Lipski had violated a number of these laws. The most obvious of this was the violation of the Wagner Act of 1935 which is also known as the National Labor Relations Act. According this section 7 of this act, employees “have the right to self-organization, to form, join or assist labor organization” (p. 597) with the purpose of ensuring that the welfare of the employees of an organization is protected. Although the reasons provided by Lipski for the termination of Bob Thomas from the company could be substantiated by records and documents, he was terminated only after Lipski discovered that Thomas was organizing a union in the company. The sequence of the events can cause enough doubt on the part of Thomas and the union organizer that the main reason for his termination was his involvement with the organization of the union which was covered up by his poor performance record (Bohlander & Snell, 2007). Lipski’s decision to meet only with the managers of the company regarding the changes of the relationship between managers and employees caused her to commit two unlawful labor practices stipulated in Section 8 of the Wagner Act of 1935 and the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. The first of which is that by not including the employees in the meeting, her decision can be considered as an act of refusing to get involved into some form of collective bargaining with the employees of the company. The same holds true when she terminated Thomas without first discussing the matter with him and being open to some form of negotiation to occur between her and Thomas. The second unlawful practice Lipski committed was restraining the company’s employees of their rights which include the right to set up a union in the company. This was clearly seen in her decision to terminate Thomas after discovering that he was organizing a union in Apollo Corporation (Bohlander & Snell, 2007). In order to justify her actions, Lipski would be able to present to the NLRB supporting documentations that would show that for five years, Thomas’ attendance was poor along with his performance evaluation and his character evaluation. On top of this, Lipski would be able to present copies of the company policy to the NLRB for review, which will stipulate not only the expectations of the company to their employees regarding work performance and attendance, but also the corresponding sanctions associated with these policies. Moreover, Lipski would be able to argue that because Thomas has been employed in the company for a period of nineteen years, it follows that he should by now be fully aware of the company policies and the corresponding disciplinary actions that will be carried out as a result of the employee’s failure to adhere to these policies. As such, Lipski would be able to present evidence that the termination of Thomas from the company was not in any way associated with his involvement to the organization of a union in the company. Rather, the termination was a result of the poor performance of Thomas as an employee of Apollo Corporation. On the other hand, Thomas may dispute Lipski’s allegations by presenting to the company the events that led to his termination. Thomas may be able to justify his poor attendance record by advising to the NLRB that in his nineteen years working in the company, the company did not give much weight to schedule and attendance adherence. He then could quote section 8 of the Wagner Act of 1935 and the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 to prove that Lipski’s decision to only meet with the managers of the company in order to modify the relationship between the managers and the employees as a decision that did not allow the employees to negotiate with their managers regarding the changes that Lipski wanted to enforce. Because this decision has disgruntled the other employees of the company as well, Thomas may be able to bring in some of his colleagues to support his claim that the employees were not included in the meeting that would affect not only the managers but more so the employees of the company. Thomas could also quote these laws with regards on how he was terminated by the company. He could argue that he was not allowed to negotiate the decision passed by the Human Resource department regarding his termination. He could contest the severity of the sanction that was imposed to him since he could argue to the NLRB that he was never reprimanded for any of the reasons that were used by the company. Furthermore, because he was the prime organizer of the union in Apollo Corporation, he could use this as justification that he was terminated on the grounds of creating a union in the company. Recommendation In order to avoid cases such as that that occurred in Apollo Corporation, managers and employees must be present to discuss changes in the company’s policy since both parties would be affected by any decisions that would be reached. In the event that the company’s employees had established a union in the company, representatives from the management and the union must be present. Managers should establish and present the goals that they wish to achieve to the employees or union negotiators. Examples of these goals would include cost cutting and the retention of control over the operations of the company to ensure that the company remains at par with its competitors. Based on these goals, the union negotiators or employees of the company should be given the opportunity to discuss issues regarding their salaries, working hours and working conditions. Ideally, both parties would be able to reach a compromise, and it is this compromise that would be implemented by the management of the company (Bohlander & Snell, 2007). Oftentimes, differences between the employees and the management cannot be resolved amicably. As such, management should implement a grievance procedure in the company which would allow employees to forward their needs and desires to management. These grievance procedures should consist of various steps with specific filing and reply times that both management and employees must adhere to. These grievance procedures must also ensure that the highest level of the grievance process is arbitration which is where resolutions may be reached and the parties would reach a compromise with the help of a mediator called an arbitrator. It would be the arbitrator’s responsibility to look into the policies regarding the company’s employment, the written agreement that was submitted, testimonies from both parties and the possible resolutions that could be arrived based on these (Bohlander & Snell, 2007). Summary and Conclusions The case of Bob Thomas in Apollo Corporation is a perfect example of the consequences a Human Resources Director will face as a result of a lack of experience and knowledge regarding labor and union relations. In the case of Apollo Corporation, although Jean Lipski had just cause to terminate Bob Thomas because of his poor performance at work, Lipski’s decision not to include the employees in her meeting with the supervisors and managers of the company have provided Bob Thomas to file a case against the company with the NLRB on the grounds of unlawful labor practices exhibited by the company, particularly by the Human Resource department through its director. In closing, labor laws were formulated in order to ensure that both managers and employees are able to exercise their rights and their responsibilities in the company. These laws should be strictly followed by companies regardless of the industry they are a part of or the size of the company in order to ensure that not only that companies would not have to face lawsuits against them filed by the employees in relation to their failure to give importance to their needs but also to ensure that a healthy working environment and relationship is fostered which would result to the success of the company. Reference Bohlander, G. W. & Snell, S. A. (2007). Managing human resources (14 ed. ). Florence, KY: South-Western Publishing.
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