Unions and Outsourcing Term Paper

Pages: 12 (3983 words)  |  Bibliography Sources: 12

SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] The companies that outsource to these countries will often state that they are not breaking any laws. That is technically true, because there is no law against outsourcing, and specifically no law against outsourcing to a country like India that does not have unions or follow the same types of labor practices as the United States (Davies, 2004). The way the employees of these companies are treated in the countries to which the companies outsource would be illegal by U.S. standards, but those employees are not in the U.S., so the law cannot be applied that way (Davies, 2004).

Outsourcing is a way to get around the legalities of mistreatment for employees, who can be made to work overly long days for pennies, instead of being paid a fair wage, being allowed breaks, and having proper working conditions (Davies, 2004). While the company may be avoiding legal trouble by outsourcing in this manner, that does not absolve it of ethical or moral deficiencies -- and more Americans are starting to speak up about the way people in other countries are being mistreated just so a company can sell a lot of products at a cheap price (Forey & Lockwood, 2011). Cheap goods are what many people want to buy, and others need them because it is all they can afford. They buy these goods in spite of knowing where they came from, and many of these people are not aware of the terrible working conditions and lack of employee representation that is being seen in other countries. The companies are generally aware, though, and doing nothing to stop it from happening.

A third problem with outsourcing to countries without unions or proper labor laws is the environmental toll that is being taken. There is only one Earth, and it is being quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) destroyed by companies that are pushing more and more consumer goods into the marketplace. Pollution and other issues are running rampant, and that is harming the health and safety of people all over the world (Hira & Hira, 2008). While that may not seem to have any real tie to labor laws or unions, it actually does. Unions work for the employee, and one of the things they focus on are betting working conditions (Davies, 2004). When companies and factories are forced to clean up their act and give their employees a better working environment, they also generally pollute less and cause fewer problems for the environment. It is a winning situation for the people and the planet, but the majority of countries to which companies outsource do not have any type of environmental or employ regulations in place that are actually enforced.

Companies can and should be doing more to protect employees. They can keep jobs overseas instead of outsourcing them, or they can outsource to countries that take better care of their employees and their environment. Additionally, companies that are serious about employee protection can work to help get laws passed -- and enforced -- in countries to which they outsource, and can help start up unions that will work for the good of the people. There may be some resistance to this in countries that do not want to change their policies, but if the United States plans to pull outsourcing from that country if changes are not made, that could prompt the country to be more willing to work with the U.S. On what it needs to protect employees adequately. There are no easy or optimal solutions, but there are certainly ways in which the U.S. can start moving forward in an effort to make sure companies that outsource do so more responsibly than they currently are.

References

Davies, P. (2004). What's this India business?: Offshoring, outsourcing, and the global services revolution. London: Nicholas Brealey International.

Forey, G. & Lockwood, J. (2011). Globalization, communication and the workplace: Talking across the world. New York: Continuum.

Hira, R., & Hira, A. (2008). Outsourcing America: What's behind our national crisis and how we can reclaim American jobs? New York: AMACOM.

Part II -- Persuasive Paper: Solution and Advantages

As with many problems that plague modern society, there are no easy answers to the issue of outsourcing. However, there is also more than one solution to solve the problems that are being seen. The largest concern with the solutions that can be presented is that none of them are perfect. They all have their own problems or concerns, even if they solve the problem they are designed to correct. Because there are no perfect solutions, the only way to solve the issue of outsourcing is to find a solution that is the most logical based on the choices presented, and work to implement it while mitigating some of the more negative consequences it will cause (Aneesh, 2009). By doing that, companies that outsource to other countries will still be able to do so, but the labor practices and union involvement in those countries will have to be at an acceptable level that stops mistreatment of those employees (Krugman, Obtsfeld, & Melitz, 2012). While this seems to be easier said than done, several options are available. The best solution for the problem is to simply stop any companies that are based in the United States from legally outsourcing any work to countries that do not have comparable labor laws and union involvement.

That can seem like a harsh step to take, because there will be backlash and disadvantages to it. However, there are also large advantages to making this kind of ruling, and those advantages could ultimately end up providing a great deal of help and support to companies and their employees. No solution is perfect, but a solution must be undertaken -- and it can and should be one that provides the lowest number of disadvantages and the highest possible number of advantages for the largest number of people (Krugman, Obtsfeld, & Melitz, 2012). Those people include the customers, employees, and others who have a stake in what the company ultimately decides to do.

The first advantage to stopping companies from outsourcing to countries that do not have comparable labor laws and union involvement is ethical and moral. The mistreatment of people who live and work in many other countries is deplorable (Aneesh, 2009). Even companies that are based in the United States and that do not intend to harm or exploit employees can contribute to the problem, because they send their work to countries where these types of injustices take place (Buchholz, 2004). Many do it unknowingly or think it is "not that bad." Once they go to the country and see how employees live and work, they may change their mind about whether it is "that bad." There is little they can do, though, because pulling their business from that country would be very time-consuming and expensive (Aneesh, 2009). Their ethical dilemma regarding the treatment of their employees is often overshadowed by the need to make money, but that would stop if regulations were changed, because they would not be losing financial ground by doing what is morally right (Buchholz, 2004).

Of course, not all companies will care about ethics and morals in the same way. There will be companies that are angry that they had to make changes, and companies that are relieved that they can still compete with other companies even with the changes thrust upon them (Aneesh, 2009). Companies that are struggling with the ethics or morality of the issue, though, may be pleased that the choice has been made for them, since they were caught between acting morally and performing competitively (Aneesh, 2009). While it may seem like an easy choice -- and likely would be for some people -- the idea of not being able to be competitive in the marketplace can overshadow moral and ethical beliefs and feelings (Krugman, Obtsfeld, & Melitz, 2012). This solution would have the advantage of taking away all of that concern, since every company would be required to outsource in safe and healthy ways, whether or not they were morally bothered by other options.

A second advantage to the labor law and union issue would be one of social equality. Many of the people who are dealing with outsourcing from the other side (i.e. working for U.S. companies that have provided work in their countries) are working in these kinds of jobs because they are just starting out, they are rural or undereducated, or because they are out of work and must feed their families somehow (Krugman, Obtsfeld, & Melitz, 2012). That does not mean they should be exploited and mistreated, and one would think that there would be a great deal of social outrage that would come with that type of treatment of others. Socially, and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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