Term Paper: Human Resources Labor Relationships a Labor Union

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Human Resources

Labor Relationships

A labor union is an association of workers who have come together in order to attain common goals in relations to such as better working conditions. The job of the leadership of the union is to negotiate with the employer on behalf of union members. The labor contracts are known as collective bargaining agreements. These agreements can include such things as: negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint processes, rules that oversee hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and other policies. The contracts that are negotiated by the union leaders are binding to both the employees and the employer. In some cases that are even binding on workers who are not part of the union. Once the government approves a union's position as representing a group of workers, it represents them solely, whether or not particular employees want collective representation or not (Reynolds, 2008).

Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act gives employees the right to form, join or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of mutual aid and protection. It is an unfair labor practice (ULP) for management to infringe upon these rights (the Law, Employee Rights and how they affect Workers Right, 2006).

Union leaders are in agreement that in order for the labor movement to revive, the turnaround must happen within the private sector. Unionization among government employees is projected to remain comparatively easy even though the governors of Indiana and Missouri recently took away the right of state workers to unionize. Since states and cities seldom take on unions, 36% of the nation's public employees are unionized. Factory workers were once at the center of the labor movement, but employment in many former labor strongholds like steel, rubber and autos, has gone down because of automation and imports. Many organizing efforts are not able to keep up with the decline of manufacturing jobs (Splintered, but Unbowed, Are Unions Still Relevant, 2005).

Full-time nonunion workers in 2002 had on average weekly earnings of $587. This was 21% below the $740 that was earned by union members. A survey conducted in 1985 of two hundred economic studies concluded that unions were responsible for their members' wages being, on average, 14 to 15% higher than wages of equally skilled nonunion workers. Other economists have claimed that the union premium was 20 to 30% or higher throughout the 1980's. In a recent National Bureau of Economic Analysis study, it was established that there is a union wage discrepancy of 18%, which was a relatively stable premium from 1973 through 1995 (Reynolds, 2008).

The wage premium tends to vary by industry and phase of the business cycle. Unions that stand for garment workers, textile workers, white-collar government workers, and teachers are thought to have very little impact on wages. On the other hand wages of unionized mine workers, building trades people, airline pilots, merchant seamen, postal workers, teamsters, rail workers, and auto and steel workers go beyond wages of similarly skilled nonunion employees by at least 25%. During the job explosion of the late 1990s, the union premium began to fall. Union wage agreements are often good for about three years, so changes seem to lag behind the more receptive and flexible nonunion sector during an economic upswing. The opposite happens during an employment slump like that of the early 2000s because nonunion wage growth declines as hiring decreases (Reynolds, 2008).

An employer is required by law to negotiate in good faith with a union, although an employer is not mandated to agree to any specific terms. Once a concurrence is reached through negotiations, a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is signed. This is a negotiated agreement between a labor union and an employer that sets down the conditions of employment for members of that union along with requirements for wages, hours, conditions, vacation, sick days and benefits. After a CBA is signed, an employer can't alter anything detailed in the agreement without the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Human Resources Labor Relationships a Labor Union.  (2010, May 14).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/human-resources-labor-relationships/2019598

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"Human Resources Labor Relationships a Labor Union."  Essaytown.com.  May 14, 2010.  Accessed July 22, 2019.