General Motors strike began on 15th September 2019, which was participated by 48000 united automobile workers (UAW) from the 50 plants based in the United States. The cause of the strike was the prolonged negotiation between the management and UAW after the expiry of the previous contract on 14th September. General Motors(G.M) was offering workers who have been with the company since 2007 a pay of about $30 an hour, and those hired at a later time earn much less and temporary workers getting $15 an hour. Also, there was a variance in benefits packages. This system put in place by G.M was a way to get cheap labor without affecting the existing workers. UAW saw this as unfair, and it was creating tension in the company by having some individuals earn significantly more or less as compared to others while doing the same job. These issues made UAW demand better pay, job security, permanent employment for temporary workers, and better healthcare benefits. It took 40 days for the UAW and G.M to agree and sign a contract that was ratified by UAW on 25th October. I choose the G.M strike because it demonstrates how negotiation can solve a disagreement between an employer and employee no matter how much they disagree. I agree with the workers' strike because their issues were legitimate and reasonable, and it needed to be sorted for fairness to prevail among workers.
Resolving a Negotiation Impasse
During negotiations, parties may sometimes reach an impasse. Reaching impasses is often caused by resistance to agree on workable solutions. The impasse can be a sign of a dispute not being able to get a solution during mediation, though, on many occasions, mediators remain optimistic that there will be a solution. There are techniques to keep negotiations moving even when they reach an impasse.
Mediation is a process selected by parties conflicting to help them move beyond impasse and reach on a settlement. Mediation is provided by a neutral third party who is experienced in dispute resolution techniques. The advantage of mediation is that the parties are directly involved in the formulation of the terms of an agreement on each issue (Carrell & Christina Heavrin, 2013). The process makes parties believe that they are in control of the process outcome. Mediation is also confidential, and all evidence is destroyed as soon as the agreement is reached. The disadvantage is the fact that it lacks the authority to make a decision on issues that gives no guarantee to provide a solution.
Arbitration, just like meditation, involves a neutral third party, but arbitrator has the authority to give the final decision the stale issues. Interest arbitration is usually used to resolve disputes that arise in the mid of a contract(Carrell & Christina Heavrin, 2013). Interest arbitration is used by most private sectors to resolve the impasse. The advantage of interest arbitration is that it always produces a settlement of the disagreed issues and make it final and binding to both parties. The disadvantage is that arbitrators often split their difference by meeting in the middle on key issues. It causes the negotiating parties to take on extreme positions, which can only be solved by meeting in the middle position. It also makes both parties willing to reach an agreement because they feel that at the end of it will end up in arbitration, making them to over-rely on arbitration.
Finally, there is fact-finding which a semi-judicial method of resolving impasse is. It involves a hearing that is used to assemble and make facts public by use of media. The fact-finding panel is only allowed to recommend a resolution to the impasse. The idea of fact-finding is to delay a strike by bringing unreasonable demand to public attention(Carrell & Christina Heavrin, 2013). It creates new ideas and reasonable recommendations that will give pressure to a disagreeing party to acceptance. Its shortcoming is that it can force a party to accept terms that are not reasonable due to public pressure.
Final Offer is a Canadian movie that documents 1984 contract negotiations between G.M and UAW. It also provides a historical creation of the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW). The most significant part of the film was the decision to create CAW. CAW separated with the American parent body to become the largest private-sector union in Canada. I feel this was a good move because they played a major role in creating bargaining leverage. The Union consolidated power in their dispute with UAW. CAW ended up striking a deal better deal with G.M though they were not offered what UAW was offered.
Carrell, M. R., & Christina Heavrin, J.D. (2013). Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining: Private and Public Sectors (10th ed.). Pearson Higher Ed.
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Essay Sample on General Motors Strike: 48,000 UAW Workers Join Nationwide Protest. (2023, Apr 10). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/essay-sample-on-general-motors-strike-48000-uaw-workers-join-nationwide-protest
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