Union Challenges to Methods Improvement Programs

by H. Randolph Thomas, Jr., (M.ASCE), Asst. Prof.; The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, Pa.,
Mason P. Holland, Field Engineer; Stone and Webster Engineering Corp., Boston, Mass.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Construction Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 4, Pg. 455-468

Document Type: Journal Paper


This paper presents nine case studies that illustrate the type of labor relation problems that should be anticipated by management whenever a formal productivity measurement program using stopwatches, video tape, or time-lapse photography is initiated. Each case was settled via formal grievance procedures. The rulings of the arbitrators establish guidelines regarding the scope and nature of methods improvement programs, acceptable techniques for measuring productivity, use of time standards, civil liberties of the craftsman, disciplinary action, and favorable language in the collective bargaining agreement. It is shown that management has the right to unilaterally undertake time studies and to establish production standards. It is illustrated that the exact wording of the collective bargaining agreement is the key to establishing what measurement techniques are acceptable. Examples of management rights clauses are presented.

Subject Headings: Labor | Case studies | Agreements and treaties | Productivity | Photography | Arbitration

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