1 - Does the labor law encourage or discourage unionization?
Yes they do. And the following is in support of that claim: “Often described as the ‘heart’ of the act, section 7 of the statute reflects the law's basic purposes. It provides that ‘employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection’ “ (Kohler, 2004). In addition, the labor laws tend to favor employee and union relationships.
Labor laws do provide protection for union employees against wage inequality by defining standard minimum wage requirements and they address other workplace safety issues as well. These labor laws are authorized at the government level and thus allow any public employee to not only join a union, but create one (by organizing) should they so desire. And given the fact that the majority of the employees at West University are public employees, already in established unions, the organization process for the Resident Assistants (RAs).
To help facilitate that process, the Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) was affiliated with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. Although the workforce at West College is a majority of union employees, the non-union employees are not required to join any union due to the fact that Arizona is a right-to-work state. But again, the labor laws to prevail and allow a group of employees to legally organization under State and Federal laws.
2 - Do you think teaching assistants should be considered employees?
If they are on a payroll as a W2 individual, and work a set amount of hours then I can’t any reason why they would not be considered employees. Similar to the Resident Assistants, I would imagine that the Teaching Assistants are also students who attend the college as well. Based upon the information provided, the Teaching Assistants are also unionized employees.
Education aside, the skill level of the Teaching Assistant should not be a factor when it comes to joining a union, there should be some educational requirements for the job of a Teaching Assistant however. Although a Teaching Assistant does not have teaching credentials, hence they’re not on the same pay grade, but there is a fair amount of experience that a Teaching Assistant is expected to have to perform their job effectively. This does not mean that a Teaching Assistant could not handle the job of teaching a class if they had to, they just do not have the official credentials and could present to the University should they be put into a teaching position.
For further clarification, there is a difference that should be noted between an assistant and an intern. Per the following example: “Intern: a person who works as an apprentice or trainee in an occupation or profession to gain practical experience, and sometimes also to satisfy legal or other requirements for being licensed or accepted professionally.” Whereas “Assistant: serving in an immediately subordinate position; of secondary rank...generally not in training for another role.” (Dictionary.com)
3 - Do you think management's reaction to employee interest in unionization differs if the employer already has a high union density among other employee groups?
If a majority of the employees are already organized in some type of a union setup, then unfortunately, the only reaction that Management can have is to agree to other groups wanting to organization. That is unless Management can come up with some reasons why organization should not take place.
This type of a balance has its pros and cons. If this is a type of an environment where a majority of union employees makes more sense, then this type of an arrangement can be productive if even more employees wanted to organize. And it...
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