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Union Demands - Essay Example

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The case study depicted a scenario in which an apartment building was threatened by the formation of a union among the janitorial staff. These janitors already received great benefits including free apartment rental, but some employees were looking to unionize the janitorial staff…
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Union Demands
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The case study depicted a scenario in which an apartment building was threatened by the formation of a union among the janitorial staff. These janitors already received great benefits including free apartment rental, but some employees were looking to unionize the janitorial staff. Some of the benefits of forming a union include increase in employee wages, reduce inequality, improve fringe benefits, and better pension plans (Mishel & Walters, 2003). Orval Schimel, a union organizer, held a meeting in which he gained the support of 6 of 11 janitorial workers. In the apartment building the supervisor, Larry Melton, was very mad that the employees were interested in forming a union. Mr. Melton began a behavioral pattern that was hurting the employees because he was making inquiries to several employees about the dealings of the union with the janitorial workers. Larry Melton was harassing the employees by calling them at home with questions about the affairs of the union. Larry did not have the right to call the employees after labor hours and ask them about things that occurred outside the workplace. He was violating both the trust of the employees and their privacy. Some of the claims of wrongdoing by the union in regards to the actions of the company included: Repeatedly interrogating employees about union activities. Threats of reducing of benefits. Threatening the employees for refusal to reveal the identities of who attended the union meetings. Forcing employees to reveal the nature of the private union meetings. Making employees offers of better medical benefits if they fail to join the union. In my opinion the majority of the claims made by the union were true. Larry Melton acted in an unethical manner in regards to the union activity with the janitorial workers. He pushed the employees to tell him information that they did not have to reveal. His actions constituted harassment. The company realized that Larry Melton acted wrongly and in order to protect the firm the company decided to terminate his employment contract. One of the arguments of the company was that they were not aware of the behavior of Larry Melton and that his actions were not sponsored by the company. Despite his action being wrong the company claimed they were not coercive that that he simply wanted to know if the union had the support of the employees to determine if a true majority existed. The company also claimed that neither George Thompson nor any of the employees were really threatened. The language used by the supervisor was vague and inconclusive. The firm also claimed that the increase in medical benefits offer was a routine annual increment that was in no way used to manipulate the decision of the workers in regards into accepting or not the union. When comparing the arguments made by the union and by the company I believe that the union has the more persuasive argument. I do not think that the statement made by Nord is fully protected by free speech as the company claimed. In reality Nord was against the union from the start and one of his first directives as supervisor was to ensure that the unionization of the janitors did not occur. The union wanted the NLRB to accept the request for unionization based on the authorization cards submitted by the union prior to the election. The union believes that these cards should be accepted because the results of the election were coerced by the company. The claim of the union does not have any legal validity because the union did not prove the true existence of coercion. Coercion can be defined as the use of intimidation to obtain compliance (Dictionary, 2012). The entire ordeal with the union and the company in regards to the rights of the janitors had lots of inconsistencies that may have affected the results of the elections. I believe that the best course of action is for a new election among the janitors to occur to truly determine if the majority of the janitors want a union or are happy without its existence. This case study was very interesting because it showed a scenario in which a company felt threatened by the existence of a union. Overall I believe that the company acted in an unethical manner in their efforts to prevent the janitors of the company to become a part of a union. In the United States all non-managerial workers have the right to unionization. There are 14.8 million workers that belong to unions in the U.S. (Bls, 2012). References Bls.gov (2012). Union Members – 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2012 from http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/union2.pdf Dictionary.com (2012). Coercion. Retrieved March 27, 2012 from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/coercion Mishel, L., Walters, M. (2003). How Unions Help all Workers. Retrieved March 27, 2012 from http://www.epi.org/publication/briefingpapers_bp143/ Read More
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