Major Reasons Why Workers Join Unions - Paper Example

Published: 2021-08-17
1952 words
8 pages
17 min to read
Wesleyan University
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A union is a group of people with legal authority to represent a particular group of workers who work together to negotiate the terms of workers with their employers through collective bargaining. Workers join unions because it helps them in several ways. Unions help workers economically. They can bargain their way for better pay through unions. There is a better chance of better pay when you are in a union as compared to when not in one. Workers in unions can push for good working conditions; they can also get to work within the stipulated time allocated for their jobs rather than working for much longer hours. Unions help workers to get their benefits such as pension, paid vacations, medical insurance and allowances. Unions fight against dictatorial management practices against workers and serve to protect them against such acts and enable them to act like professionals.

Unions offer job securities to workers; employers cannot wake up one morning and decide to fire an employee without proper reasons or sufficient cause. Also, employees with qualifications can get promotions to higher ranks without worry of being blocked or prevented. Workers tend to join unions because of competence, in that the workers in unions get good working environments and do their work to their best without necessarily having to be worried of conditions at work as compared to those who are not in the union thus creating competence. Unions offer workers a chance for activism in that they choose a right person who will fight for their rights; this chance provides such people an opportunity to be stewards and represent their fellow workers. The UFCW 1518 addresses such issues for the people that it represents.

Structure of Canadian unions

Group of workers deemed to be suitable for collective bargaining may apply or vote to join a union. The Labour Board determines the suitability of joining a union; this union may consist of all employees or a select group of employees at a work entity for example teachers. If they are successful in their vote, then they become members of the bargaining unit, and the union becomes their bargaining power in the fight for their issues and concerns. The union members then select or vote in stewards or representative in the fields of the unions bargaining unit. The bargaining unit representatives are the ones that meet with their members and negotiate on behalf of them with their employers.

There exist local unions which are authorized organizations of the national union to which they belong. There are also regional or provincial bargaining agents which are used by the workers to present their demands and are recognized by the labor board of Canada. They are under local unions though they deal directly with the workers on the ground. National union board members are elected by delegates from all units of the union through voting. Local unions are also a fundamental unit of the Canadian labor congress which is the central labor body to which unions all unions are affiliated. Local unions in the with the Canadian labor congress pay a little amount of fee that allows them to be included to participate in the decision making. CLC conventions are held once every three years. A union with 1000 or less membership is entitled as a delegate in the CLC, and another representative is added if 500 more members increase. Most unions are affiliated to the CLC while others are not. The UFCW 1518 union is a member of the CLC, and also its structure is more or less the same as that in the local unions. There exist members, and they choose stewards to represent them, and in turn, the delegates elect the president, vice president, and the executive committee.

Core legal principles relating to collective bargaining

Collective bargaining between to the union and management should be an education and bargaining process as well. There must be confidence and utmost good faith for it to be successful. Honesty should be crucial for it to work out efficiently. A labor policy that is realistic and consistently followed should be put in place by the management to facilitate collective bargaining. The administration must recognize a trade union and accept it as a force for its better good rather than demeaning it. It is not a must for the trade union to bring upon grievances to the management for it to act; the administration should develop a framework that will enable it to deal with the employees without indeed the intervention of the trade unions. The trade union should recognize that their work is not only to secure good wages, right working conditions to the workers but also it should be in the forefront for good ethical management practices. Strike by trade unions is vital when all other methods employed have failed to bore fruits. Trade unions should consider the economic implications that can come out of their demands to affect the organization and work towards subsidizing their demand s to suit the organizations requirements. These principles, if followed carefully, can lead to better bargaining power and solve issues (Kochan, 1980).

Union organizing campaign

A union organizing campaign is not a small process as it looks like instead, it is a complicated process that needs sobriety to settle an issue. A union organizing campaign starts when a disgruntled employee visits the local union in a bid to learn how to organize the workplace. It can also happen when the union decides that the target company is a relatively easy target and then contacts the employees at their workplace. The representative is then chosen to do a follow up on the contact. The representative later visits the company and determines which employees would be useful in carrying out the campaign and which policies in the company might stand as a standing block in their efforts. The representative's contacts the employee leaders identified and formed a union in which they will use to rally support from fellow employees, know which issues the management is likely to raise from the movement and the laws involved. They then rally employees in favor of the movement to sign authorization cards. The union then publicly identifies the committee members to protect them from the management against them being discharged or expelled from duty (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhart, & Wright, 2003).

Once more than 30% support is achieved, the union then calls for an election and demands recognition as the bargaining representative of the employee. If the management claims not to recognize the majority status in good faith and refuses to acknowledge the union, then the union presents a petition to the National Labour Relations Board. The NLRB then holds a hearing to determine whether the law was adequately followed and the number was acquired in the right manner. If it is determined to have been the case, an election date is set, which is usually 30 days after the hearing. The management and the union launched a campaign to rally votes in favor of their side. The election is held, votes are cast then counted. If an objection is filed to the NLRB concerning the credibility of the polls later and found to be true, a new poll is ordered, if the claims are not substantial, they are dismissed. Then NLRB issues a certification of the election results, and if the union emerges the winner, then both parties prepare to negotiate (Sloane, & Witney, 2007).

Key steps in organizing a union contract

Union contracts are negotiated through a collective bargaining process. To negotiate the contracts well one needs to choose a representative that is trustworthy, knows the labor law very well and authoritative. They should have a good understanding of what they are negotiating for by knowing which laws are still in place so as not to ruin the whole process of bargaining. The representative should then meet with the people that he/she will be going to negotiate with to set deadlines and procedures for the negotiation keeping in mind the legal framework that guides the negotiation. Determining the issues that are on the table is usually key in every negotiation as it helps determine which issues are stronger and mandatory to the employment relationship for example if there are issues that arise from a previous collective bargaining then they need to be adjusted for the negotiation to become very successful.

Propose the negotiation table and present key issues first then proceed to the weaker issues to gain an advantage over the others. Listen carefully to the proposals coming from the other side and note down proposals that they present. Observe as they present their proposals to know how to counter them on the proposals that seem not to be presented with utmost confidence to gain a competitive advantage over them. Bargain with good faith and present proposals that would leave the room in a bit of a discussion to gain a competitive advantage over them. Also key to note is that the bargaining process should be in line with the laws or acts that are in place so as not to be disqualified. Create a draft of the proposals from previous negotiations, drafts based on the comments made then create a final selection that captures vital information and is legally binding. The final draft should contain all the compromises reached and try to secure an agreement with the people at the negotiating table.

Techniques to resolve disputes

Disputes occur every day in workplaces thus a need to have good mechanisms for solving them before they get out of hand. There are various methods of conflict resolution that can be employed. Mediation, this involves a third party getting involved in the solving of the dispute. The mediator sets out ground rules before the conflict resolution method starts. The parties that seem to conflict then vent out their grievances to the mediator who is not partisan one at a time. After listening to both sides, the mediator then decides how the issue is supposed to be solved with or without the parties involved. Negotiation is also another way of resolving disputes; the parties in conflict come together and listen to each other carefully in a bid of trying to find a solution to the problem in question. The parties may negotiate directly or hire an attorney to negotiate directly on behalf of the other side. This is the most commonly used method of solving conflicts. Arbitration is also another method of conflict resolution; it involves the disputed matter being presented to the person to be able to weigh the possibilities and determine the case presented. It is like a legal hearing out of court where documents and evidence are brought forward to reach a final binding agreement. Attorneys are usually present in the arbitration process. Conflicts can also be solved through litigation which entails going to court where a trial will be conducted to address a particular matter. The losing party shall pay all the costs incurred during this hearing.

Unions effect on human resource management.

Human resource management faces challenges in an unionized environment. The human resource department has to hire a specialist to handle questions regarding the union work environment because it lacks an in-house expert to handle such. The human resource department has to draft contract negotiations with unions months or weeks before the contract negotiation term expires. There is a challenge because it has to consult widely with a specialist on things s like wages, salaries, and retirement benefits and present them to the companys board, this is a tedious exercise. Human resource is supposed to ensure that dues checkoff is done with ultimate accountability to ensure appropriate amounts are deducted from the union members salaries. The grievance process in place when an employee wants a raise from...

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