By Patrick P. McHugh, Ph.D.

This case promotes learning about the labor relations process in the United States. The case follows the actual efforts of undergraduate resident assistants (RAs) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst) who sought to be represented by the United Auto Workers union for collective bargaining purposes. The case highlights:

  • The legal parameters regulating labor relations.
  • The factors contributing to employee interest in union representation.
  • Union election campaign strategies and activities of employers and unions.
  • The influence stakeholders have on labor-management relations.
  • The importance of pre-contract negotiations.
  • The interpretation of the outcome of contract negotiations.
  • The important role of contract administration.
The case is designed for undergraduate or graduate students in an introductory or survey HRM course and can be used as a complementary case for an undergraduate or graduate labor relations course.

Under the assumption that the class meets twice a week for 1.5 hours per session, the instructor can cover the entire case in one full class session or divide it into two, covering it in half of two class sessions. Instructors can easily adjust the case for different class time-bands. However, at least 1.5 hours of class time should be allotted for coverage and discussion of the case.

This case consists of an instructor’s manual and a student workbook.