Labor - Essay Example

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In any lucrative business where there is a considerable number of employees, it is important for that business to have a functional Human Resource department for the purpose of regulating labor practices and instilling a work environment that is safe and healthy. The United…
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Human Resource Management: Labor Unions First of College or In any lucrative business where there is a considerable number of employees, it is important for that business to have a functional Human Resource department for the purpose of regulating labor practices and instilling a work environment that is safe and healthy. The United States, through the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, almost all employed Americans are ensured a safe and healthy working environment. This was achieved with legislature passing the Occupational Safety & Health Act of 1970 and designed to help preserve the rights of both the employer and the employee. While the responsibility for providing a safe work environment falls onto the employer and its Human Resources management team, it is the responsibility of the employee to comply with the rules that are required to ensure a safe working environment. In this brief outline, the phenomenon of Labor Unions will be critically analyzed and explored, discussing the purpose of a union, experience with unions from a Human Resource perspective, Good Faith, and a number of associated terms that bring clarity to the whole labor union movement.
Key words: OSHA, AFL-CIO, health and safety, unions, labor, labor laws, employee relations
Human Resource Management: Labor Unions
Since before the 1950’s, United States employees have been fighting for equity, fairness, and to be treated with dignity and respect. It is through the labor union movement that the AFL-CIO was able to form and demand fair practices and acceptable working conditions on job sites all across America. The reasons why many workers from various industries came to join a union, and continue to do so to this day, is to ensure that their rights are preserved and that their health and safety are protected. In many cases, currently and historically, there are unfair practices going on around the world. American union members are now encouraging laborers in other countries to organize unions in order to do the same thing. Dressler states that as many as 14.7 million U.S. workers belong to unions, about 11.9% of the total (Dressler, 2013, p. 496) (Dessler, Human Resource Management, 13th Edition).
The views of this outline concerning labor unions have more to do with the theoretical discourse that is ascertained through reading both historical and current events. Its perspective is also influenced by images in the news media of labor union strikes displaying angry blue collar workers and picketers marching and shouting in front of their place of employment, or at least the corporate office. It has much less to do with the limited knowledge and experience on a professional level. With that caveat being stated, limited experience has proven that union workers today and the agreement of terms with their employers today is much less dramatic than what has been shown on television and in social media. Labor union workers are an expected demographic among employees, particularly with certain positions within different companies and organizations. Human Resources has been regulated to implement union labor laws as an everyday practice.
In spite of the good climate that has taken place between labor union employees and employers, employee relations disagreements do continue to happen. This is when negotiations take place and collective bargaining (Dessler, Human Resource Management, 13th Edition) begins. Interchangeable with collective bargaining, there is a more “no non-sense” term: good faith bargaining. These procedures require that both sides of the negotiation “table” are required to be reasonable in their efforts as they work towards a resolution that is agreeable to them both.
The concept of collective bargaining or good faith bargaining brings about possible events that often occur during these negotiations. These occurrences happen with such terms as mediation (Dessler, Human Resource Management, 13th Edition), impasse (Dessler, Human Resource Management, 13th Edition), and strike (Dessler, Human Resource Management, 13th Edition). When negotiations require mediation, this means that a third-party (an arbitrator or fact finder) is needed to offer a more objective perspective and able to provide sound judgment. Negotiations have come to an impasse when resolutions cannot be found and good faith bargaining has ceased. When this happens, it is counteractive to the concept of good faith bargaining and nothing is agreed upon. Therefore, strikes occur. This is usually the result of negotiations coming to an impasse. Failure to come to an economic agreement has occurred and different types of strikes can happen: unfair labor practices strikes, wildcat strikes, and sympathy strikes (Dessler, Human Resource Management, 13th Edition).
This brief outline is an examination of the phenomenon of Labor Unions. This critical analysis is a discussion of the purpose of a union, current events of labor union practices, good faith bargaining, and the consequential occurrences when collective bargaining fails. When it comes to the benefits and downfalls of labor union membership, the advantages seem to outweigh the pitfalls.
Dessler, G. (2005). Human Resource Management, 10th Edition. Employee Safety and Health, 48. Alabama: Prentice Hall Inc. Retrieved June 2014, from
Dessler, G. (n.d.). Human Resource Management, 13th Edition. . Read More
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