1.It has been said that “a company that deserves a union gets one,” suggesting that if proper leadership and motivation techniques are employed and desirable policies devised, the workers will not want to unionize. Either agree or disagree with this philosophy. Support your position and explain what a company could do to create an environment where workers will not want to unionize?
2.Some means of resolving negotiations impasses involve economic weapons (e.g. strikes and lockouts). There are other means of impasse resolution that do not involve the use of economic weapons (e.g. fact finding, mediation, med/arb/interest arb, etc.). Select two (2) non- economic means of impasse resolution, 1) explain how each one functions and 2) discuss the relative pros and cons of each.
3.Unions have declined as a percentage of the workforce in the private sector. With this decline, have career and workplace dissatisfaction and alienation increased? If so, why is this so? If not, why not? Support your position.
4.List and discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages in using seniority as a factor to determine shift preference or overtime assignments.
5.Identify two different steps a company should take to prepare for its first round of bargaining with the union pre-negotiation activities. Explain why each of the steps you have identified is critical to achieving an initial successful collective bargaining agreement with the union.
6.Identify and explain the major ways in which the government is an important participant in the labor relations
1. A number of factors inform unionization of companies and organizations. In their article Reasons employees give for joining a union, Mitchell and Simpson (2009) establishes five crucial points that lead to the establishment of workers unions. These include ignoring the staff’s complaints and opinions, unfair treatment, lack of respect as well as inadequate remunerations and benefits from employment. This implies that if the company creates the right and conducive environment for the staff to operate then they would not push for unions. This totally agrees with the proposition that ‘a company that deserves a union gets one.’ There are a few ways through which such organization can remove the need for a union. They include improving the environment and conditions in which the staff operates through giving the employees the right gear and safety tools to work with to protect their safety. It is also important to improve the remuneration of the staff based on their work output and productivity. An organization can also explore possible ways of involving the employees in the decision-making process. Besides, it should seek ways through which the staff can raise their concerns and grievances to the management for action. When such an environment is created, the need for unions goes down in that organization.
2. Negotiation impasses are resolved using either economic weapons means or non-economic means. Some of the common non-economic means include negotiation and mediation. Negotiation involves bargaining between two or more parties to resolve a given dispute, such as terms of employment or working conditions. Most negotiations are conducted between the two opposing parties (or through their representatives) to yield an amicable solutions (Anderson et al. 2012). Negotiations are beneficial since they create a platform through which both parties can debate and agree on the way forward. This move creates a win-win situation. On the other hand, it is detrimental when the two negotiating parties have a conflict of interest in a given item of discussion. The representatives may be compromised and may not represent the interest of the groups they represent. Mediation uses an independent and neutral third party to bring the two opposing groups together to reach a consensus (Anderson et al. 2012). The process can either be binding or non-binding. The advantage of this method is that a mediator is in a position to make a fair judgment since he has no interest in the debate. However, the process is time-consuming and may not bring out the right solution to the issue at hand.
There is a general trend in the decrease in the numbers of unions in the last few decades. Research by Zieger et al. (2014) points out that private sector has experienced the highest decline from 35% in the mid-1940 to about 12% currently. The hostility of companies to the unions and the exaggerated demands by the unions are the main causes of this decline. This has translated into increased workplace dissatisfaction and alienation. Currently, most of the workers are underpaid, operate in un-conducive environment and lack basic entitlements such as insurance coverage, since the employers silence most unions. The challenge of victimization is also on the rise, whereby those who champion for workers rights end up losing their contracts or are demoted to silence them. As a result, the workers satisfaction is decreasing leading to lower productivity over time. There is, therefore, the need to strengthen the worker’s unions and improve the working condition of millions of workers globally.
6. The government is a major player in the labor relations discourse. Notably, it is the largest employer in the labor market, and its terms of employment set the pace for other employers. The government also plays a crucial role in passing and enforcing labor laws at federal, state and local level, and ensuring that they are followed by different employers (Budd, 2010). Such includes the National Labor Relations Act and Labor Management Relations Act. This is a fundamental role in the labor relations as it ensures adherence to the laws set by the government. It has also established the right institutions such Federal Labor Relations Authority to promote relations between the employers and employees, including the government itself.
Anderson, A., MacDonald, E. & O’Reilly, J. (2012). Impasse Resolution in Public Sector Collective Bargaining–An Examination of Compulsory Interest Arbitration in New York. St. John’s Law Review, 51 (3), 453-515.
Budd, J. (2010). Labor Relations: Striking a balance. 3rd Ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
Simpson, M. & Mitchell, M. (2009). Reasons employees give for joining a Union. Retrieved 12 October 2015 from http://www.laborlawyers.com/reasons-employees-give-for-joining-a- union
Zieger, R., Minchin, T. & Gall, G. (2014). American Workers, American Unions: The Twentieth and Early Twenty-first centuries. 4th Ed. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press