Collective Bargaining Article Analysis

Meyerson, H. (2014). Seattle’s $15 minimum wage agreement: collective bargaining reborn? The American Prospect. Retrieved from < http://prospect.org/article/seattles-15-minimum-wage-agreement-collective-bargaining-reborn>

Nature of Collective Bargain Dispute

The collective bargaining in this case involved a struggle to increase workers minimum wages to $15 per hour without including tips and other benefits that workers enjoy in that position. The collective bargain was between the Seattle town mayor, business owner and the city workers in Seattle. The nature of collective bargain involved workers demonstrations and the negotiation between the workers spokespersons and the Mayor’s team. This is something that has been happening for quite a long time but at the end of it, the bargain was so strong that the workers had to take part in peaceful demonstration to push their employers to heed to their demands. Although workers have been fighting to have their hourly rates increased, no one has ever bothered to listen to them. In this regard, taking to the streets serves as the best possible option to resolve this issue (Neil, 1944).

Underlying Causes of Dispute

Both unionized and non-unionized workers in Seattle city want their hourly minimum wages to be increased from $ 9.47 to $ 15. This include works working for the state government in the town, restaurant and bar workers, store chain workers among other businesses centered in the Seattle city. However, based on the employers, this would be too high for them to be able to handle the bills. The increase in wages according to them will affect their businesses since they will need to transfer the cost to their customers. Moreover, the city is already the best paying in the entire state of America which together with Washington has managed to give an hourly wages of $9.4. Based on the employees’ views, the town works are receiving the best and thus they do not have any reason to complain. However, workers believe that their wages should be increased regularly and being the best paid does not means that their wages should remain static until all other states get to their level. Moreover, the cost of living is increasing on daily basis and thus, they should be given enough to be able to survive in the city. These contrasting perspectives created a dispute with both sides refusing to compromise.

Economic or Ethical Pressures

According to workers, the cost of living in the town is going up on daily basis. This implies that without increase in their wages, workers in the town will have to lover their standards of living to survive in the current demanding economy. To them, increase in the salary will increase their morale to work for they will not have stress on how to settle some of their escalating bills which include rent, transportation, food, and education among others. On the contrary, the employers claim that they are also affected by the bad economy. To handle the wages, they will have to transfer the extra cost to the customers, an act that may affect their business negatively. Alternatively, they may be required to layoff some workers to be able to meet the new bills. This will also affect their businesses since the remaining workers will have to handle bigger workload than before. Therefore, to them the demand is not viable.

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