Here, negotiation should be employed in order to explore possible option or sources or even alternative remedies that may address the issues concerned. Negotiation should be used a means of finding a common ground by which parties can agree on terms. Farnham (2000) stressed that negotiation is “a conflict-resolving activity and involves concessions and compromise (p. 406). ” Farnham adds that negotiation can also involve “collaboration, confrontation, accommodation and avoidance” (p. 406). But negotiation is not as easy as we can imagine.
Negotiators should start on identifying and clarifying the issues involved as well as the potential considerations. However, In the case of the hospital, the issues involve are clearly identified. The lack of adequate compensation, the unreasonable work rules, and the quality of patients care were a compelling reason to seek negotiation on the part of the employees. Although the hospital may not be held liable for the inadequate compensation yet they have responsibility to compensate their employees based on the existing compensation standard.
Furthermore, the unreasonable work rules imposed by the hospital and the low quality of patients care are issues that have to be addressed by the negotiating panel. It can be expected however, that the management will not surrender their position on the issues concern easily. The management will surely exploit every possible option through having experienced and skilled negotiator, to avoid slashing some budget for salary adjustment allocation or to just modify the existing work rules because they must be serving some benefits for the hospital.
Orr and Hawes (2007) cited that this kind of negotiation is a “win-lose” approach in which, the management is concern only on what they can get rather than what they can do to improve the condition of workers and services (p. 196). Thus, there is a need for the union officers to assess the strength of the management position and the skills and experience of the management negotiators in order to insure that the outcome of negotiation will be fair if not in favor of the employees.
Referring to the other negotiating team, Farnham suggest, The validity and logic of their arguments needs to be predicted and assessed and the power balance, as defined by the ability to impose unilateral action or take sanctions against the other side, is a crucial factor. Identifying the comparative strengths of negotiating positions is a prerequisite to the determination of strategy and tactics. The negotiating team also needs to focus upon outcomes it seeks in relation to its predetermined objectives (p. 407).
While the above is based on the assumption or concepts, apparently the problem has long existed and the formation of employees’ union is clear evidence that the management would not address the issues concerned without going to the last resort. Although negotiations are not really the last resort, but failed negotiation will automatically result to the last resort, employees’ strike. The impact of strike however, may not only be paralyzing on hospital’s operation, it would be very costly both on the striking employees, the patients, and the management.
However, I should admit that negotiations for collective bargaining are merely concepts unless it is turn into contract and signed by both parties. In this case it becomes evidence. Successful negotiations should not remain concepts but must be turn into a written agreement between the employees and the employers. Miller (2006) aptly stated that after negotiating labor agreement, “the employer and labor organization should spend no less care on its administration.
Managerial rights that have been established at the bargaining table, sometimes at a high price, can be eroded or entirely lost through inattention” (p. 198). Given the significance of the negotiators skills and experience in the negotiation process, it is therefore important for the union officers to evaluate themselves whether they can be qualified negotiator in behalf of the union members and of all the employees.
While it is the right of the employees to receive adequate compensation and to have a working atmosphere that is free from pressures due to unreasonable work rules imposed by the management, and to render quality patient care to all patient regardless of economic status, they might loss this right if they the negotiation ends up a failure or if there is no agreement reach in the negotiation process. Sims (2002) noted the NLRB ruling that mandatory bargaining items “must be negotiated if either party brings this matter to the table.
Refusal to bargain about a mandatory item is considered an unfair labor practice” (p. 347). In view of the discussions above, negotiators in behalf of the union employees must carefully prepare in negotiating for collective bargaining. Sims suggests that negotiators must have a realistic bargaining objective, which is the expected value of the final settlement on a particular bargaining issue. Finally, negotiation should be seen as effective tools of resolving disputes within an organization.
Cooper and Locke (2000) pointed out that in managing disputes, many researchers and writers in the area of human resource management “imply that negotiation and meditation are the best procedures for resolving disputes in organization” (p. 90). That is, negotiation should be focused on “win-win” solution rather than “win-lose” approach. This could be achieved through discussing various options that has potential to help address the problem. Reference Cooper, C. L. & Locke, E. A. (2000) Industrial and Organizational Psychology USA: Blackwell Publisher
Farnham, D. (2000) Employee Relations in Context Great Britain: CIPD Publishing McEachen, I. & Keogh, J. (2007) Nurse Management Demystified USA: McGraw-Hill Professional Miller, R. D. (2006) Problems in Health Care Law USA: Johns & Bartlett Publishers Orr, L. M. & Hawes, J. M. Marketing in the 21st Century: Company and Customer Relations USA: Greenwood Publishing Group Rackham, N. (1989) Major Account Sales Strategy USA: McGraw-Hill, Inc. Sims, R. R. (2002) Organizational Success Through Effective Human Resources Management USA: Greenwood Publishing Group