Overcoming Conflict in Work Place

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An employee strike is a process whereby a company's work force engages in work stoppage in an effort to elicit changes from its employer in such areas as wages, benefits, job security, and management practices. Strikes are a direct result of conflict between employer and workers (usually labor unions). Strikes are referred to as formal Industrial conflict and results when a group of employees voluntarily joins a labor union or other formal organization, and this group determines it must strike to achieve a desired effect (i.e. better wages or a safer work environment), overall employee & company performance suffers as a result. Striking workers also enjoy certain legal protection, such as the right to return to work. Union strikes are usually associated with large companies, but they can be implemented against smaller employers as well. Given the enormous financial stakes of such actions, small business owners need to be prepared in the event that an employee strike is called against them. There are two kinds of union strikes, economic strikes and unfair labor practices strikes. The former is a strike that is undertaken by workers in order to get improvement in wages, benefits, hours, or working conditions. An unfair labor practices strike is an action that has far more serious legal implications for small business owners. This kind of strike occurs in instances where the employer allegedly violates rules that protect workers during collective bargaining. "Typical violations that prompt unfair labor strike include refusing to pay benefits when they're due, discharging an employee for engaging in union activities, and refusing to bargain in good faith," reported J.D. Thorne in Small Business Reports. Thorne contended that "the most important aspect of managing an economic strike (the most common type) is to prevent it from becoming an unfair labor practices strike." Thorne noted that employer actions that could trigger this transformation include blatant ones, such as discharging an employee for engaging in his or her right to strike or withholding benefits (earned vacation time, pension-plan eligibility, etc.) as well as more subtle ones that nonetheless violate the National Labor Relations Act. Employees may sometimes go on a strike without union authorization. This action is referred to as a wildcat strike and is undertaken while a union contract is still in effect, or while a union is negotiating for benefits. In most countries, employees who participate in a wildcat strike can be dismissed without legal repercussions for the company. As wildcat strikes are not legally protected, most workers try to avoid them. The beginning of an employee strike is almost always a difficult period for small business owners. The adversarial nature of such actions can be jarring for company leaders who are unfamiliar with strikes, and the walk-out itself can threaten small-and midsized business owners with devastating economic consequences (large companies can be hurt by strikes, too, of course, but their very existence is not usually jeopardized). How to manage and resolve conflicts:

Three methods of resolving situations that have reached the stage of open conflict are often used by many different organizations. It is important to understand these methods, so that people can decide which methods will work best for them in their specific conflict situation: • Negotiation: this is the process where mandated representatives of groups in a conflict situation meet together in order to resolve their differences and to reach agreement. The outcome is often dependent on the power relationship between the groups. Negotiations often involve compromise - one group may win one of their demands and give in on another. In workplaces, Unions and management representative usually use negotiations to solve conflicts. • Mediation: when negotiations fail or reach a dead-lock, parties often call in and independent...
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