This response is a peer response to the weekly discussion post.

Jimmy Mares

TuesdayJul 7 at 5:15pm

Manage Discussion Entry

Seniority is central in many private and public sector union contracts in the United States. What are the advantages to both employers and employees of using seniority to allocate employment opportunities? What are the disadvantages? How can a balance be struck between the interests of employers and employees? (ULO 1)

In union contract the seniority clause is traditionally present under employee rights along with just cause discharge, procedure of grievance, and compensation. The seniority clause provides employees with certain protection. “As workers fought for workplace justice in the early decades of the 1900s, they frequently tried to force their employers to follow impartial rules: wages that were based on jobs rather than unfair manipulation of piece rates; promotions and layoffs based on seniority rather than managerial favoritism and discrimination. This was a way of introducing civil rights into industry—that is, of requiring that management be conducted by rule rather than by arbitrary decision” (Budd, 2018, Pg.310). For example, while laying off, the people who are hired last are fired first. Also, seniority can be used as soul, determining or secondary factor during promotions. The advantages for employees and employers for seniority clause are:  For employees it eliminates the discrimination in layoffs based on favoritism and biasness. It also provides the same provisions in the case of promotions. Employees who are experienced and have spent more time in the organization are protected from unfair practices. For employers, their turnover ratio decreases and loyalty among senior staff increases. It is important to retain senior and experience staff as they are considered more valuable and therefore the seniority clause helps them to achieve that. The employers who have businesses which do not require much innovation and employ low skilled workers, experience is more valuable. The disadvantages for employees and employers for seniority clause is: The biggest disadvantage of this clause is for new employees who have recently joined the organization. Irrespective of their skills, talent, or hard work, they will be the first to get fired during layoffs. For employers who sustain on continuous innovation and thrive on new ideas, this clause is a major setback. New employees are more custom to latest technologies and bring a new way of thinking into the organization. When an organization loses such skillful employees and fresh perspectives, it also loses its competitive advantage. In promotions, if seniority is the sole criterion then employees have no motivation to work hard as they are certain that they are not going to get promoted over senior employees. This limits the productivity of the organization. “Regardless of how seniority is defined, whenever years of experience are the primary criterion in decisions governing salary increases, promotions, layoffs and other personnel actions, it’s a reminder that performance is not important” (Risher, 2017). A balance can be struck between interest of employers and employees by developing a rating scale where all factors such as merit, seniority, job skills, etc. are given equal weight. During promotions the employee scoring higher will either be promoted and during layoffs, the employees, lowest will be laid off first. This is similar to what we have in the United States Air Force. Our enlisted evaluation program and force distribution boards convene and take into account several factors when promoting individuals. Seniority used to be a consideration, but it was recently removed with more emphasis placed on overall job performance.


Budd, J. W. (2018). Pg.309-312. Labor Relations, Striking a Balance (5th ed.), New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Risher, H. (2017, November 27). Seniority vs. Performance. Retrieved July 07, 2020, from https://patimes.org/seniority-vs-performance/