During the afternoon meeting on 7 April, the Union proposed a freeze on wage rates for the duration of the agreement. He also proposed that a committee meet within sixty days to set the target rates for next year and, after reviewing the results, for the following year. The Union has also proposed separate rates for industrial, commercial and residential employment; health and welfare contributions of USD 3.75, USD 3.50 and USD 3.25 per hour over the three years of the agreement; a contribution to SIS of USD 0.50 per hour, where applicable in the first year, with increases of USD 0.10 for each of the following two years; and a reduced contribution to the training fund. After an afternoon break, Grinnell retaliated again by reiterating his proposal to give a fixed rate of 75%, with the rate to be reviewed and possibly adjusted after a year. It offered the choice between the Tyco health plan and a contribution of $2.25 per hour to another health plan acceptable to the Union. In the area of pensions, Grinnell has proposed either implementing its Tyco 401(k) plan or contributing $1.20 per hour to another plan without SIS contributions. Section 8(a)(5) of the NRA makes it an unfair labour practice to “refuse to bargain with the representatives of its employees.” 29 U.S.C§ 158(a)(5). The collective bargaining obligation requires an employer to meet with its employees` representatives at reasonable times and to “advise in good faith regarding wages, working hours and other working conditions”. 29 U.S.C§ 158(d).
The obligation “does not, however, oblige either party to accept a proposal or request a concession.” Id.; see also NLRB v. American Nat`l Ins. Co., 343 U.S. 395, 402 (1952) (“The Act does not for for any agreement what- soever- between employees and employers). Although the parties here — Grinnell and the Union — have decades of relations, this is the first case where Grinnell negotiated with the Union independently and directly. In the past, Grinnell had pledged to negotiate through the NFSA and to be bound by it. As the ALJ rightly put it, such a brief history of negotiation “would give the parties a wider opportunity than was the case here.” Grinnell, 328 N.L.R.B No. 76 at 12 p.m. This is especially true given Grinnell`s proposed significant changes to employee benefits and salaries. See Harding Glass Co., 316 N.L.R.B 985, 991 (1995). After the sixth formal negotiating session, that same evening – April 12 – Preuett called Chatilovicz to ask to meet again the next day.
M. Chatilovicz inquired about what the Union planned to propose and Preuett replied that he hoped the proposed rates of pay would increase. Chatilovicz said Grinnell`s proposal was its final offer and would not change its rates of pay or proposed benefit plans. When Preuett proposed that the parties use a federal mediator, Chatilovicz asked if Local 669 was willing to reduce smile rates of pay. . . .