Labor Union Case Study Essay
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After familiarization with the proposed case study regarding partial work stoppage at Buddy Schoellkopf, Inc. (“the company”) due to picketing organized by Local 746 of the United Rubber Workers (“the union”) and detailed analysis of facts of the case, I came to the following conclusions.
1. Underlying reasons that led to the work stoppage
In order to find the underlying reasons that led to the work stoppage at the company, in my opinion, it is vital to investigate the fact that the union suddenly engaged in the strike on February 8, 1979 after having cooperative negotiations with the company’s management for a six-month period.
As there were no evident signs of growing tension between the company’s management and the union, it is important to analyze background of their relations. In this way, it may be possible to identify reasons that caused the union’s sudden reaction to start picketing.
First of all, it is known from the case that the company’s management had several off-the-record meetings with Tyler’s police officials regarding security issues at the plant prior to the February strike. It is possible to assume that information about the above-mentioned informal meetings could have been made available to the plant’s employees, who, in their turn, could have started thinking that their management was doing something behind their backs that might influence their interests.
Secondly, the company’s management was apparently disquieted with the union’s presence at the plant. Such management’s unfriendly attitude towards the union combined with the company’s employment of a security services provider could have resulted in an increasing number of unanswered questions between the company and its staff.
Finally, it is possible to assume that personnel of the company’s security services provider could have demonstrated the same inappropriate moral qualities and unprofessional attitude towards the company’s female employees before the strike just as they showed them during picketing in February 1979. This fact could have only worsened relations between the company and its employees that ultimately resulted in the strike.
2. Was the fifty-foot provision justified by the state’s interest in preventing violence?
Thus, Tyler’s police enforced the mass picketing statute prescribing that “it shall be unlawful for any person, singly or in concert with others, to engage in picketing or any form of picketing activity that shall constitute mass picketing” (Nash v. Chandler, 1988). Indeed, such instances as the ones, when “there are more than two (2) pickets at any time within either fifty (50) feet of any entrance to the premises being picketed, or within fifty (50) feet of any other picket or pickets” (Nash v. Chandler, 1988), were forbidden.
Nevertheless, it seems that the above-mentioned protective measure, in fact, did not prevent the violence but only encouraged it, as enforcement of the fifty-foot provision led to many arrests. I believe this situation was provoked by the way the mass picketing statute was approved and enforced by Tyler’s authorities.
At the time of holding discussions with regard to necessity to introduce the mass picketing statute, neither a union’s representative, the Tyler City Attorney, nor the State District Attorney were invited to attend the discussions and to provide their positions on the subject. It is obvious that attendance of the Tyler City Attorney and the State District Attorney was crucial, as they were responsible for representing the state in criminal and/or civil cases that might have arisen from the picketing of the company’s plant (Texas Association of Counties, n.d.).
All in all, the company managed to gather Tyler’s authorities to approve and enforce the fifty-foot provision in quite conspiring and questionable way that provoked and resulted in the mass opposition from the picketers’ side. That’s why I think that the launch of the fifty-foot provision was not justified by the state’s interest if all facts are properly examined and if the formal side of the issue is analyzed along with other important facts.
3. Did picketing serve a purpose?
I believe that the picketing did not serve a specific purpose, as there were no clear demands for the company’s management from the picketers or the union as the collective bargaining representative of the company’s employees. Instead, the picketers had unproductive behavior and seemed to be too much involved in conducing administrative misdemeanors (including damaging third parties’ property and insulting colleagues who had a different point of view) rather than searching for a solution of their labor issues.
At the same time, it feels like the union’s management in the person of the president did not have any picketing strategy and were only keen to take some unproductive spontaneous actions by showing, for instance, with a gun in the crowd and getting seized by the police. That’s why I believe that all of the above facts and actions ascertain the absence of the clear purpose of the strike organized by the union.
Texas Association of Counties. (N.d.). District and county attorney. Retrieved from https://www.county.org/for-county-officials/resources-by-office/Pages/County-Attorney.aspx
Nash v. Chandler. 848 F.2d 567 (5th Cir. 1988). Retrieved from http://openjurist.org/848/f2d/567/nash-v-chandler#fn1-2
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