Unions and Employers

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What ways do employers and unions exert their power?
In a unionized environment, employers exert their power mainly by working against union organizing. Their most important goal is to be union-free. Efforts to control organizational costs have also contributed to employer’s resistance to unions. The management may work towards sidelining union membership by designing work in such a way that it creates a work culture that increases employee commitment and job satisfaction. Employers use a variety of methods to refrain worker’s from organizing campaigns and unionize. Their efforts range from hiring consultants to distributing leaflets and letters to presenting the company’s viewpoint at meeting with employees. Some employers also coerce workers away from joining a union and extend incentives like reinstating workers with back pay. During strikes, employer may even lock-out their workers in a bid to exert power on them to surrender to the management. A lockout is a closure of a workplace or refusal of the employer to provide work as a way to compel employees to agree to certain demands or conditions. Employees in such situations lose their daily wages, and this can stall chances of peaceful negotiations. Government interference and legislations can also subtly facilitate the capitalist power by imposing possible sanctions and back-to-work bills that undercuts union strength. A collective agreement is administered by an organization’s HR department. The HR decisions may or may not be consistent with the terms of the collective agreement. Where action is inconsistent with the agreement, this may reflect an honest misunderstanding, an intentional avoidance of a legal obligation, or an interpretation of an ambiguous clause in the interest of the employer. Either way, when the employer makes a decision, it impacts upon the lives of workers. Yet another way that the employer exerts power is through the underlying principle of grievance arbitration in...
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