I/O Psychology and the Union

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Industrial organizational psychology is very important in the workplace for encouraging productive worker attitudes and behaviors and for the selection of applicants in the most effective manner (Pond III, 1999). In today’s world, there is a great demand for equal employment, equal pay and a satisfying yet productive workplace. These demands present many challenges for the organization and for I/O psychologists. Even more challenging are these same demands in a unionized workforce. A union is a group of workers who formed to make decisions about the conditions of their work (Trade union, 2007). Members of a union often earn better wages, health care and pension benefits, have more flexibility for work and family needs, and have a voice in enhancing the quality of their products and services. Employers and union officials negotiate a contract that spells out the worker’s rights on the job. Without a union, the employer has the power to make all of the policies. The workers have very few rights and no voice or appeal against unfair rules (Smith, 2007). With unions, workers have rights to seniority, safety, and union representation. Other benefits of union membership include overtime pay, paid leaves, negotiated wages, health insurance, and pension plans. Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this paper is to identify some of the challenges organizations and unions face in the unionized workforce within the areas of I/O psychology. Areas of I/O psychology such as job analysis, performance appraisal, assessment methods for selection and placement, training, motivation, job satisfaction, productivity, and the work team concept will be addressed. Much of the content of this paper regarding unions will be focused on the United Auto Workers because I am a member of and most familiar with this union. By examining these challenges, I hope to offer suggestions that will bring the union and the organization together to continuously improve and profit. Methodology

A literature survey consisting of books, journal and magazine articles, and internet sources was used to compile data for this research paper. I have conducted interviews with Guy Barger, who is the President of United Auto Workers, Local 685, and Jason Lewis, Human Resource Specialist at Chrysler Corporation. I have also performed an informal survey of several of my coworkers. Findings

Job Analysis
A job analysis describes the job and the competencies necessary to do the job effectively. A complete job analysis can break down the components of a job, uncover problems, and provide solutions (Dunnette, 1994). However, when dealing with a unionized workforce, this task can get incredibly complicated.

Any change in job analysis or job description covered by union labor agreements must take place with the approval and involvement of the union (G. Barger, personal communication, October 3, 2007). The organization cannot arbitrarily change job descriptions or performance standards. The union tries to work with the company to update job requirements to make them more practical. Job analyses may be negotiated during the bargaining talks. Just because a company is under union contract does not mean a job analysis cannot or should not take place (Gomberg, 1947). It can demonstrate a need for changes to improve working conditions. Even though negotiations could be tough, if changes need to be made, it is the responsibility of the organization to work with union to see these changes occur. Performance appraisal

Performance appraisals are used to review the performance of an employee over a period of time to identify strengths and weakness and to improve performance in the future (Bacal, 1998). There is usually a negative correlation between performance appraisals and unions because union resistance is likely to occur when management tries to distribute rewards to individual appraisals. Unions are opposed to the biased methods that...
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