Central City Electric
The case study makes it clear that Central City Electric isn’t getting a good deal from the employees. The employees are taking advantage of the flexible working conditions. Unfortunately, there is no set policy on whether the number of hours worked is more important than completing the work itself. If I were the mediator, my first step would be to find out if there are any grievances on the part of the workers. It is important to know if the workers are leaving early simply because they can, or if there is another reason for rushing through the work day.
The working conditions might be unpleasant (a company car with no air conditioning on a hot day, reading meters in unsafe neighborhoods, back pain from leaning over to read the meter, etc. ) enough to warrant a shorter work day for the same pay. The next step would be to send out a survey to all of the employees. This survey would include questions such as: a. The average work day is 4. 5 hours – why has this decreased from 6. 5 hours? b. Under what conditions would you be willing to take on a longer route? c. Are there
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Once I had determined the working conditions and the general attitude of the employees, I would schedule a meeting (or several meetings by shift) in which the employees can air their grievances. It would be for the purpose of gathering information rather than coming to a solution, but I would ask exactly how this can be resolved to their benefit while still increasing productivity and reducing costs. Once the meeting had been completed, I would schedule a meeting with management, union representatives and other supervisors in order to discuss the issues and find out how we can come to an agreement that does not alienate either party.
2) A subcommittee would be the best way to draw out the expertise of the union and management technical experts. The subcommittee should work under the following guidelines: 1) their purpose is to find a way to increase productivity while reducing costs; 2) the subcommittee must be neutral and cannot take into account the company’s needs or the employees needs when investigating; 3) they will follow the current union bargaining agreement when making any determinations. They must follow this agreement because they cannot violate any current employee rights or benefits when determining the best way to increase productivity and to reduce costs.
3) If mediation failed and I were the arbitrator, I would have a difficult time determining how to rule. The decision is difficult because the employees have been getting away with working a shorter day for quite some time. In addition, if the work is getting done, it will be difficult to convince the employees to do extra work without receiving extra pay. My strategy would be to find the greatest good for the company while making a minimum of changes to the employees. a) The first step in arbitrating this dispute would be to get the information about production and costs that I could put in a presentation to show to the employees.
I would first show them that they have the highest meter-reading expense per customer, and this is due to the fact that they are getting paid for hours they haven’t worked. I would also mention that this cost gets passed on to the customer. Each employee lives in a place where they have to pay for electric, so I would ask them if they would want to pay more so that the meter readers could leave early. My next strategy would be to inform them that they have the smallest number of meters per route.
As long as they aren’t working under difficult conditions, there is no reason why they can’t take on more meters in order to fill the 6. 5 hour day. I would then inform them that they are being paid 25. 8 percent higher than anyone else in their positions. As an arbitrator, I have decided that the employees are being unreasonable and if they are required to work a 6. 5 hour day, then they should work the entire time. The employees routinely finish work early; this suggests that they do not have enough to do in light of the technological advances. I would give them the following options:
a) Take on more meters in order to earn their current salary – no checking in required; b) Take the current number of meters – this would require employees to check in at the end of the day and not leave until the day is officially over; c) Take on more meters and be compensated in other ways (additional days off, more vacation/sick leave, incentives for working the entire day and checking in). I would also allow them to consider how many meters would be fair to add to each route, and I would remind them that the technology will eventually take over their jobs and they won’t be needed in a few years.