Labor unions can be defined as organizations of workers that stand for the interest their constituents in labor-management relationships within a place of work (Grossman, 2005). Basically, Labor unions are formed to check on the interest of the member’s earnings, benefits, and work setting. In USA, labor unions can be dated back to the 19th century, where they arose from factory and industrial systems revolution. Different trades and occupations often have specific labor union. Communication workers, health care workers and employees in the hospitality industry have different labor unions representing them. Labor relations can be defined as business activities involving labor unions and the employers. Labor relations can be conducted by a legal representative or by a human resource manager, knowledgeable with the union’s activities. Some of the activities relating labor relations include; negotiation and meditations of employee grievances and contract negotiations. In the United States labor relations in the In the private sector are regulated by the National Labor Act while in the public sector they are controlled by the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (Marot,1914)
Unions have proved to affect the employers as much as well as the employees. However their impact has been, mainly, on employees. On the one hand, unions’ function is to improve conditions for employees and not the employers. However, unions do not profit from negotiating for or achieving situations which harm employers for the reason that may cost the labor union members their jobs (Wagner, 2008). The dealings of the labor unions have a huge impact on the way in which employers and their businesses and industries perform. Conversely, it ought to be noted that unions do not work on their own and employers and businesses owners are as dependable for the outcome obtained in labor dealings. American employers and business owners view unions as the cause of failure in the American industry sector and the high cost of consumer goods and services. As matter of fact, efforts to start labor unions in the nineteenth century were met with stern opposition from employers. This was so, as it would have been quite easy for an employer to negotiate any matter regarding the job with an individual employee than it would have been negotiating against a whole work force. For this reason, labor unions have been able to achieve much for the American workers over the years. The outcome a labor union and labor relations have on a business depends with the sort of relation connecting the union representatives with the administration of the organization (Wagner, 2008). For instance, an organization that employs trades people and skilled workers the relationship is usually good-natured since the management expects the workers to have union representation. In various organizations there is a tense relation amid the labor union and the management especially when negotiating on contracts when neither wants to be on the losing end.
Effects of labor unions
Countless achievements have been made through the efforts of labor unions. Historically we have; ending of child labor and acquiring of a standard working time of five days-forty hours a week (Marot, 1914). In terms of wages, labor unions saw the realization of the minimum wage. There is a remarkable variation in wage between a worker who is in a union and one who is not in one. Workers in a union often have their wages and benefits raised higher than those who are not in a union. Wage inequality, over the years, has been brought down by a great deal through the labor unions since they increased wages of the low-wage and middle-wage workers than they do for the higher-wage earners. More so, there are strong unions that have standardized their pay according to a workers qualification. For example a high-school graduate gets a given minimum wage different from the wage a college graduate gets. Besides wages, unions have led to an increase in the benefits the workers such as lower health benefits reductions. In addition, they have also led to provision of better pension plans (Befort, 2002).
Working conditions have been enhanced by a great margin. This has been accomplished by use of the legal rights to strike leading to collective-negotiating agreements with the business and organizations to maintain safe and unbiased working environments. In addition, the unions use the government-imposed controls to set standards on how employees ought to treat their staff in all industries. Studies show that workers in a union often have higher. This, of cause, is as a result of the good working conditions such as better working hours and the motivation from higher wages and benefits. In such a case, the labor unions are of profit to both the employer and employee. On a different note, unions have some negative effects which basically affect the employer, employee and sometimes the consumer. An increase in wage increases the labor cost. Definitely, this upsets up sets the economics of the company and an alternative has to be found d to settle the extra cost. The company could take various measures which may include; lying off some workers, increasing the cost of the products or services or, even, automating some processes in production thus lowering the number of employees. If the company opts to increase the cost of its products, then this will largely affect the consumers. Labor unions also restrict free completion. By dictating salary conditions and wage, the potential number of employees is limited. This has negative results as the jobs are unavailable to non-union employer and workers. However, some economic factors, such an eligibility of workers, are fixed.
Relevance of labor unions
Participation in the labor unions has dropped. However, workers with no unions are vulnerable in numerous ways (Beforts, 2002). This is contributed by the fact that most workers are primarily hired as “employees-at-will,” in that an employer is capable of hiring or firing them at any given time, at any grounds, or on no basis at all (Befort, 2002). For the reason that the many Americans are employed as employees-at-will employers are free to establish the policies, measures, and benefits obtainable at their industries. employers require not offer: lunch or even breaks in various of states, a great deal of less paid holiday; or sick days plus they can alter the pay rate of a job effortlessly and workers have regularly have hardly any means of defending themselves or getting benefits. Unions provide protections from such employers biased. Unions facilitate establishment of termination procedures to defend workers from illogical firings. Also unions facilitate to establish complaints procedures so that workers have a right to be heard concerning work issues and environment. In this manner unions give workers a say equivalent to that of the organization and assist to make them more of partners than subordinate. Union membership may be down, but the need for union representation remains. Unions are very much relevant in the United States. The problem is not that unions are not relevant, but they have failed in marketing themselves, and to focus on behavior and effects on current employees.
Befort, S. F. (2002). Labor and Employment Law at the Millennium: a Historical Review and Critical Assessment. Boston College Law Review, Vol. 43, No. 2, 2002
Grossman, R.J. (2005). Unions Follow Suit. HR Magazine, May 2005, Vol. 50, No. 5
Wagner.v.(2008). Labour unions: Detroit. Greenhaven press. Pp 22-90
Marot. H. (1914). American labor unions: New York. H.Holt. Pp 113-219