Unions were developed to represent the workers and ensure that they were provided fair compensation and good working conditions. Although laws were created to provide these things over the years, unions still play a major role in business by resolving disputes, grievances and other conflict. Despite the benefits, union actions have also been associated with many company closures and the loss of jobs. The negative and positive aspects that the union brings are examined to obtain a full understanding of its role in dispute resolution. Accordingly, organizational behavior principles are applied to develop a plan for dispute resolution. Together, the strategy for how a company can survive the negative impacts of a union and develop an effective platform for dispute resolution are developed and discussed herein. Dispute Resolution and Organizational Behavior
Dispute resolution is a fundamental key to the success and longevity of a business. Unions continue to thrive for this purpose. When disputes are not resolved or managed properly they can lead up to the company declaring bankruptcy or ultimately closing. This has recently demonstrated in various industries. As noted in the October 2002 edition of Business Week, three steelmakers, still in business, have declared bankruptcy since 1998. This has been determined to be a result of global overcapacity. US Airways is in Chapter 11, and more carriers could follow. In the Telecommunications industry, less than 2% of long distance capacity is currently in use, putting tremendous pricing pressure on the industry. Kmart is in Chapter 11, and more filings loom. The sector is littered with failures at reorganization, including Bradlees, Ames Department Stores, and Montgomery Ward (France, 2002). Introduction
The presence of unions and disputes has been found to be common towards the outcomes noted above. The presence of unions and disputes shall be examined to determine the alternatives needed to resolve the negative aspects that both bring to the survival of a business. What is the driving focus of the economy? Domestic spending increases the demand on products to enter the market, serving as the platform for innovation of product and delivery methods. People are at the core of the economy and the roots of the social and economic platforms. With people come individual expectations, attitudes, values, beliefs, motivation and different points of view and solutions.
Organized labor forces, specifically unions, have a tremendous impact on the survival of a business; private, public or otherwise. Unions have the power to stop the flow of people and goods, with implications on the global economy, all the way down to the civil servants and teachers. Understanding the difference of values, attitudes, perception, power struggles, and politics between employees and management in disputes is critical. History
Trade unions first started in the old guilds of England during the eighteenth century. With the industrial revolution, industries grew large, separating the worker from their employer. In this way, the worker found that their voice alone carried little influence. However, when an organization speaks for them, the mass voice carries considerable weight. “Much of the legislation providing for workmen’s compensation, unemployment insurance, old-age pensions, length of working day and week, … laws regulating labor of women and children, have been brought about through agitation by labor organizations” (University of Chicago, 1952, p. 2136).
More recently however, unions have been involved in politics and other areas, jeopardizing the employment of the workers it is supposed to represent. Some recent examples of this can be seen in China, where unemployed workers protest union actions (Altman, 2002). Other detrimental effects can be seen in the United States through the history of the Taft Hartley Act. The last...