Nov 4, 2019 in Business

Summative Assessment

Employees have the right to organize a union for purposes of negotiating with their employers on matters relating to employment conditions and terms. This right extends to include disseminating union literature, soliciting colleagues to sign the cards for authorizing unions, and holding discussions with coworkers on issues involving the union. Amidst the persistent systematic labor violations in a non-union manufacturing organization, this proposal explains the union organizing process, the choice of the union, the responsibilities of workers, the help that unions can offer, and legal steps that can be taken by the management upon the realization of an ongoing union organization movement. The proposal also discusses what can be done in helping overseas workers to organize and the effect of the global nature of the business in the organization and the bargaining process.

Union Organizing Process

The union organizing process commences when an organizer working for a union contacts workers to be represented. Alternatively, employers can contact a union of their choice after recognizing the need for representation. The next step entails the union collecting the signatures of employees as an indicator of employees’ interest in union representation. At least 30 percent of employees must provide their signatures for the proposed union representation before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is requested to hold elections (NLRB). The National Labor Relations Act outlines to processes for the certification of a labor union as a collective bargaining representative of the workers. These two processes include the card check and the secret ballot election. The card check process is characterized by voluntary recognition, whereby the union aiming to represent workers offers the employer authorization cards that have been sized by a simple majority of the employees (50% plus one). The employer may willingly accept these cards as evidence that workers are interested in union representation. This is followed by the NLRB certifying the union as the collective bargaining representative for the union. In the event that the employer refuses the voluntary recognition of the union through the card check process, the union continues to collect the signatures of workers interested in holding an election in order file an election petition. In order for the union to be certified by the NLRB, it must garner the majority vote of the employees, which implies that it requires at least 50% of the votes. In the event that union emerges victorious in the election, it becomes the representative of all employees in the bargaining unit. The vote is done through secret ballot. The losing side is allowed to contest the results of the election.

The Selected Union for Organizing

The selected union is United Steelworkers (USW), which has at least 1.2 million members in diverse manufacturing sectors. The USW as international affiliations with the Canadian Labor Congress, the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Relations (AFL-CIO), and other numerous international union federations. USW has merged with unions based in other countries including Ireland and the UK to establish an international union organization known as Workers Uniting. The reason for its selection is because of its international linkages, which is crucial in helping employees in other countries to unionize. Moreover, the USW has entered into strategic alliances with numerous other unions in order to tackle the globalized nature of the industry and address common problems facing manufacturing workers across the globe.

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Responsibilities of the Workers

Employees play a crucial role in ensuring the success of the union organizing, which can be achieved through performing various responsibilities. The first responsibility of employees during the union organizing process entails articulating the workplace issues affecting them. In this way, employees must talk openly with their colleagues, discuss issues and build support for a union. Secondly, employees must ensure that they talk about the labor practices affecting them discretely. When employees are considering organizing a union, it is important they do so during breaks and away from work. Although organizing a union is a legally protected right, employees must make sure they exercise caution so the management is not tipped during the early phases. When the management is tipped, the success of the process may be jeopardized. 

How Unions Can Help Labor

The impact of unions on the working conditions and compensations of both unionized and non-unionized employees is significant. Firstly, unions play a crucial role in reducing wage inequality because help increase more wages for more middle-wage and low-wage employees when compared to high-wage employees. Moreover, unions focus more on blue-collar workers when compared to white-collar workers. Moreover, their emphasis is on workers having a college degree. It is evident that the characteristics of workers prioritized by unions are typical of workers in the manufacturing industry. Secondly, successful unions establish a standard to be followed by nonunionized employees. Thirdly, a crucial advantage associated with unionized workers relates to the fringe benefits they enjoy. According to Budd, unionized employees are more likely to be awarded pay leave when compared to nonunionized employees. Moreover, they are more likely to benefit from employer-funded pension plans and health insurance when compared to nonunionized workers. The health benefits for unionized employees is more generous relative to nonunionized employees. Moreover, unions are crucial in enabling employees to secure legal labor rights and protections like family and medical leave, overtime, and health and safety. Overall, the benefits of unions for employees is significantly higher than being non-unionized, especially with respect to complementing legal protections and benefits. 

Legal Steps that the Management can Take in Case of an Ongoing Union Organization Movement

During union organization movement, the management is required to obey the restrictions imposed by the NLRB. Extremely severe violations can lead to the NLRB declaring the union the winner of the election by default. Employees are legally allowed to impose restrictions on union campaign activities within their property. Employers can also limit the use of their resources such as work time to facilitate union campaign activities. Moreover, when an employer has always shown laxity in implementing solicitation rules, it is not allowed to suddenly commence enforcing the rule after the emergence of union activity. Employers are also legally allowed to implement non-discriminatory rules that limit distribution and solicitation during working time; however, they are not allowed to impose restrictions on communications with co-workers during work time if they allow employees to talk about non-work issues during work time.

Helping Overseas Workers to Organize 

The available channel for overseas workers to organize union movement is through global unions. Globally, unions are working together to tackle common labor issues such as inequality, employees’ rights, and precarious work among others. With companies expanding their operations in other countries and industries being linked through complex cross-border supply chains, international solidarity is crucial in bringing workers together. As a result, overseas workers can organize global unions such as the International Trade Union Federation having coverage in 175 nations, and the IndustriALL Global Union having 50 million members drawn from 140 countries.

Influence of Global Business on Organization and Bargaining Process

The globalization of the business environment has significantly affected diverse aspects associated with the labor market. With the increased mobility of labor, employment protection is weakening. In a globalized environment, non-unionized employees are better positioned to move across countries when compared to unionized employees; this has resulted in a decline in the bargaining power of employees represented by unions. Moreover, unionized employees are more vulnerable to the global forces whereas that of employers has increased since employers often maintain that labor mobility is common in this globalized world. The resulting changes in the power balance implies that non-unionized workers are better off when compared to unionized workers in terms of labor mobility, employment conditions and wages as a result of globalization. Moreover, companies are threatening to outsource their operations in countries having cheap labor, which further reduces the bargaining power of employees. In addition, globalization has reduced unionization rates following the increase in the use of fixed-term and part-time work contracts. As a result, union membership is something not considered appealing in the globalized world. 

Conclusion

The union selected for memberships is the USW because of its international strategic alliances and linkages, which is needed in helping overseas employees. During the process of organizing a union, employees have the responsibility of articulate their workplace issues in a discrete manner that does not tip off the management. Moreover, employees cannot be penalized, demoted, disciplined or dismissed for taking part in organizing union activities. Nevertheless, some employers often limit engagement in union activities during work time or within workplaces. This discussion shows that unionizing has significant benefits such as increasing compensation and benefits, eliminating inequality. For the cases overseas employees, the available recourse for unionizing is through joining global unions.

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