Labor Relations Paper

Topics: Collective bargaining, Trade union, Employment Pages: 6 (1288 words) Published: April 23, 2010
Labor Relations � PAGE �1�

Labor Relations Paper


Labor Relations Paper

Management's decision to have its organization unionized or stay as a nonunion operation is based on many factors. This paper will define and describe the impact of unions and labor relations along with examining the impact of changes in employee relations strategies, policies and practices on the organizational performance. This paper continues with answering the question "are unions still relevant in the United States?" and it concludes with a brief description of the union campaign, the election, contract negotiations, grievance handling, arbitrations, labor relations, and strikes.

_Unions and Labor Relations_

Unions are "organizations formed for the purpose of representing the member's interests in dealing with employers" (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, p.441). Unions provide a method for skilled and unskilled employees to achieve wage uniformity and improve working conditions through collective bargaining (Boone, & Kurtz, 1999). In the 1700 and 1800s the need for unions evolved in the United States due to safety and security needs for employees working in intolerable conditions. Some of these intolerable working conditions include low wages, long work hours and unsafe work environment. During the Industrial Revolution workers, including children, worked all day in unsafe factories for only pennies per day (Labor Union, n.d.). Ongoing conflict between employees and employer allowed the unions to intensify its role in collective bargaining within an organization. Unions also provided conflict management for employee raised complaints, and labor contracts (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2003). Unions had forced employers to change the workplace environment drastically, develop new factory systems, seniority driven wages and management accountability. Today, US labor unions role is the legal representatives of workers in many industries but are predominant in the private sector. (Labor Union, n.d.).

Labor relations refer to the dealing between management and its unionized workforce regarding work condition, pay and benefits (Labor Relations, n.d.). The Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, also know as Taft-Hartly Act, allowed workers the right to unionize and bargain collectively with employers. The purpose of the Act is to prescribe and describe the legitimate rights of employer and employees, "and to protect the rights of the public in connection with labor disputes affecting commerce." (Taft-Hartley Act, n.d., para. 1). Even with the Taft-Hartley Act many labor relations had resulted in a strike. In 1983 16% of the private sector was unionized, by 2004 only 8% of the private sector is unionized. This decline is due to positive labor relations consultants which have minimized unionization (Labor Relations, n.d.). Unions and labor relations can both positive and negative impact productivity, profits and worker's rights.

_Impact of changes in Employee Relations Strategies, Policies, and Practices on Organizational Performance_

Unionized organizations have to follow the guidelines of the Nation Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA allows "the free democratic choice by employees whether they wish to be represented by a union in dealing with their employers and if so, by which union; and to prevent and remedy unlawful acts, called [unfair labor practices,] by either employers or unions." (National Labor Relations Act, n.d., para. 2). The NLRA is a federal law that makes it legal for employees to self-organize and bargain collectively through a representative. These strict guidelines were put in place to prevent employers from doing whatever the employer saw fit for the organization (National Labor Relations Act, n.d.). This act states that employers cannot interfere with employees that are trying to unionize; this is considered an unfair labor practice (ULP). An employee's union can file ULP...

References: Boone, Louis E., and Kurtz, David L. (1999). _Contemporary Business_. Fort Worth, TX: Dryden Press.
Labor Relations, (n.d.). Investors Glossary. Retrieved October 18, 2008, Web site:
Labor Union, (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2008, Web site:
Larson, R. (1990). LABOR Unions and Political Reform. Retrieved October 19, 2008, Web site:
National Labor Relations Act, (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2008, from
Noe, R., Holenbeck, J., Gerhert, B., & Wright, P. (2003). Fundamentals of Human Resource Management. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Co., Inc.
Taft-Hartley Act, (n.d.). Dpeartment of History. Retrieved October 18, 2008, Web site:
The Union Representation Election Process, (1999). Mackinac Center. Retrieved October 20, 2008, Web site:
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