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Morton Bahr led the 600,000 member Communications Workers of America (CWA) for twenty years after which he was named President Emeritus in August 2005 (National Center on Education and the Economy, 2008). National Center on Education and the Economy (2008) indicated that “during his tenure Mr. Bahr expanded CWA into new areas such as health care, the public sector and higher education” (p. 211). Anstey (1996) says that “Bahr also severed as the vice president of the AFL-CIO and a member of the labor advisory committee on Trade Negotiations for the United States Trade representative” (p. 57). Mr. Bahr was a member of the FCC’s Network Reliability Council and was the co-chair of the Telecommunications Industry Health Care (Anstey, 1996). According to Anstey (1996) Mr. Bahr held a bachelors degree in science from Empire State College in New York.
According to the article “Morton Bahr President Emeritus” published by Communication workers of America (2005) it indicated that Bahr is only the third CWA president since the unions founding in 1983 led the union through one f it’s most turbulent periods. Under the leadership of Morton Bahr the article “Morton Bahr President Emeritus” published by Communication workers of America (2005), notes tat “CWA created a new bargaining and corporate campaign strategies and the importance of these strategies was that they helped to deal with the already fragmented and newly competitive”.
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Katz (1997) noted that under the leadership of Morton Bahr, the relationship between AT&T and its two unions improved. This was because they negotiated a three year agreement that created a new framework for lab management relations known as workplace of the Future (Katz, 1997). Morton Bahr indicted that the structure permitted the unions to participate in Business Unit Planning Councils. Katz (1997) established that “through these unions the unions developed new plans of increasing employee’s discretion to provide quality service to customer, infrastructure restructuring and downsizing in the telecommunications industry” (p. 56).
Through his leadership of Morton Bahr encouraged the other union leaders to work with AT&T because it was reversing its nonunion direction (Katz, 1997). At the same time CWA also gained neutrality and card check provisions at some subsidiaries. Katz (1997) says that during this period CWA successfully organized a majority of potential members at American Transtech to sign union recognition cards and therefore the company’s neutrality pledge evaporated.
Apart from encouraging other workers from other companies to join the union the president of CWA Morton Bahr helped CWA’s to strategically responses to industry restructuring (Katz, 1997). Katz (1997) continues to say that prior to divestiture, under the leadership of president Bahr. CWA was engaged in systematic strategic planning process. Katz (1997) noted that, under the tenure of Morton Bahr “CWA’s major strategic goal was wall to wall unionization in the information industry” (p. 58). As a result CWA added 85,000 new members in the telecommunications industry through mergers (Katz, 1997).
Bahr encouraged mergers with several Telephone Independent Unions after the divestiture announcement which added 40,000 members. Katz (1997) established that in August 1988, CWA launched its Mobilization Program. This resulted to the much renowned growth and expansion of the CWA. He continues to say that the mobilization was grass roots organizing that involved members in one on ne communication on important issues at the work site (Katz, 1997). Bahr indicated that the programs basic aim was to involve all union members in actively representing their collective interest (Katz, 1997).
The article “Morton Bahr President Emeritus” published by Communication workers of America (2005) noted that Morton Bahr introduced these programs in order to “help CWA members adapt to volatile changes in telecom and achieve career mobility by negotiating education and training programs with the union’s major employers”. The article continues to indicate that Bahr encouraged initiatives which included online CWA/NETT program, a partnership with Cisco Systems to provide certification and skill training for workers in internet technology (Communication workers of America, 2005). The article Morton Bahr President Emeritus” published by Communication workers of America (2005) continues to indicate that Bahr “encouraged partnership with telecom employers and pace university that has produced the first online degree program in telecommunications”. This therefore was one of the major contributions he made during his tenure in office as the president of CWA. Education for the union workers played a significant role in the growth of telecommunication industry in United Stated of America.
At national level, CWA supported pro-labor legislation such as striker protection in telecommunications industry and trade policy (Slavin, 1995). Slavin (1995) says that the contemporary areas of concern which were addressed included technology, and workplace issues such as drug testing to monitor employee behavior, employee eavesdropping and surveillance. CWA also lobbied strongly for the for the privacy for consumers and workers Act which in turn Bahr indicated that would provide employees with disclosure on electronic monitoring of workers performance and telephone eavesdropping by management. This was aimed at providing a considerable protection to employees against inappropriate practices from employers in the telecommunication industry.
The article the article “Morton Bahr President Emeritus” published by Communication workers of America (2005) established that “under the leadership of president Bahr, CWA attracted merger patterns in the converging information and media fields and other areas” The article continues to say that “president Bahr had for long been recognized as the leading voice of the labor movement both in the united states and internationally and this was through expanded organizing thrusts and mergers” (Communication workers of America, 2005).
United States, Office of Technology Assessment & Congress (n.d) established that under president Morton Bahr CWA encouraged the union to recognize the need and the attempts to fight layoffs in the telecommunication industry through arbitration. In this context the courts and other avenues had been largely unsuccessful. Although CWA was unable to win employment security guarantees the union was optimistic that he layoffs were over and that CWA cold help companies in the telecommunication industry to develop new business ventures, generate new revenues and at the same time enhance employment security for the workers (United States, Office of Technology Assessment & Congress, n.d).
In the year 1993 the Workplace of the future initiative was at its stage of implementation. United States, Office of Technology Assessment & Congress (n.d) notes that led by its president Mr. Bahr, CWA held a large kickoff rally in New Jersey that was attended by about six hundred local presidents and four hundred managers representing about half of AT&T business units (p. 67). The magazine United States, Office of Technology Assessment & Congress (n.d) continues to indicate that this rally helped in improving relationships wit consumer communication services business unit, data communication services division and the information management service division. These rallies were fundamental in restructuring employee and employer relations in the telecommunications industry.
CWA determined that local leaders were supposed to decide whether or not to participate in joint committee that might develop employee participation programs in the telecommunication sector (United States United States Office of Technology Assessment & Congress, n d). Mr. Bahr encouraged self managed teams in the industry and other approaches to work reorganization which was geared towards empowering the employees in the telecommunication industry. According to United States Office of Technology Assessment & Congress (n d) part of the 1991 contract between CWA and New York Telephone crated common interest committee which focused on downsizing, downgrades and forced relocations of work in the telecommunication company.
In addition, Dunlop (1994) indicated that AT&T and the CWA described their integrated partnership which was known as “Work Place Future” and it played an integral role in building on extensive employee involvement and team systems at telecommunication workplaces. Dunlop (1994) continues to indicate that consultation at the business unit in the sector where long term competitive issues which were constantly emphasized by the CWA union under the leadership of Morton Bahr. Under Morton Bahr’s leadership CWA also addressed the need of a wide corporate human resource council that includes labor, management and outside expert’s discussion of long range plans within those companies (Dunlop, 1994).
In his studies Dunlop (1994) indicated the Workplace o the Future as a framework for change in the telecommunication industry included unions who worked as joint partners in planning and implementing change based on mutual respect and mutual gain between the union members and the telecommunication companies. Dunlop (1994) established that “Bahr the president of the Communication Workers of America testified that the critical element of success was that of workers to effectively participate in workplace decision making” (p. 41). Morton Bahr said that frontline workers were firstly supposed to have their own organizations, ensure that they have educated leadership and significant resources in order to have the confidence and preparation to participate as equals and without fear (Dunlop, 1994).
In conclusion Katz (1997) indicated that under the leadership of Morton Bahr many telecommunication companies such as Bell and AT&T among others adopted workplace reforms such as quality work life (QWL), quality teams and self managed teams. At the same time Katz (1997) noted that the latest generation of joint involvement programs focused on improving customer service in the telecommunication industry. Katz (1997) continues to indicate that retaining the loyalty of the embedded customer base was essential to preserving jobs in the newly competitive market of the telecommunication industry. Under his tenure Bahr the CWA president ensured that there was corporate commitment to union institutional security, employment security and union and worker participation to improve performance Katz (1997). As a result this tied together the telecommunication industry in the United States of America.
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