SUBJECT: Union Representation
Union representation is central to the protection of employee wellbeing from any manipulative practices endorsed by an employer. On many occasions, employers develop a set of rules and regulations that guide the approaches used by employees in the workplace. Even though certain firms may expose their staff to an enabling environment that influences their thought process towards work, others operate below the expected standards of operation, which undermine individual capacity to accomplish certain goals and responsibilities. In this regard, union representation comes in handy because of its ability to set the academic standards required to enter a certain industry, wages, and working conditions for employees.
Union-Free Vs. Unionized Work Environment
At any given time, union-negotiated wages are higher than the amounts non-union workers will receive for doing the same work. In a non-union work environment, company managers wield more power than employees because of their high bargaining power that allows them to enforce self-centered decisions (Fisk, Mitchell, & Erickson, 2018). However, a unionized workplace equips employees with a higher level of power than their employers, which enables them to access better working conditions among other aspects of work. Therefore, union representation creates a balance that facilitates the nature of interactions between an employer and workers.
Union, Management, and Employee Rights
A registered union is eligible to a number of rights that facilitates its operations in the work environment. On many occasions, unions can sue employers for exploiting any of their registered members because of their responsibility to advocate for advanced working conditions among other underlying issues (Harcourt et al., 2019). Likewise, a company’s management can utilize its powers to hire certain individuals who meet the qualifications outlined by an industry’s union. However, employees have the greatest number of rights that advocate for their career growth and development. Workers should join unions without any interference from their employers.
The Impact of Unions on Human Resource Functions
At any given time, the presence of registered labor unions in the business environment influences the approaches used by Human Resource (HR) departments to initiate relations with their employees. Importantly, union members will always enjoy greater benefits than their non-unionized counterparts because of the limited protection that exposes them to potential exploitation (Subramony, Guthrie, &Dooney, 2021). In the same vein, unionized employees can utilize their identity as members in a registered labor union to advocate for the inclusion of certain benefits and privileges that are outlined within the union framework. From this realization, unions have a significant impact on various HR functions, as shown below.
Firms may alter the roles and responsibilities assigned to employees with the hope of improving their overall productivity and performance. In many instances, job restructuring is done without compensating employees for the additional roles. When dealing with unionized workers, employers must comply with the different rules and regulations stipulated by the registered union.
It is impossible for employers to fire employees without considering the rights of workers, as outlined by their representing unions. In this regard, the job security for unionized employees is always guaranteed, except for those working in firms that seek to hire only non-unionized workers. However, unionized employees tend to lack discipline because of their higher power than employers, which enables them to overcome various stumbling blocks induced by company managers in the workplace.
Unionized employees have higher benefits than their non-unionized counterparts. In this case, firms hiring unionized employees will always provide additional benefits that are aligned with the rights entitled to individuals in their surroundings. On many occasions, understanding the need to accomplish the desired goals and objectives compels firms to consider the changing views of employees.
For unionized employees to work in certain conditions, their employers must cater for their medical insurance. Before unionized employees can accept a contract, certain health and safety conditions must be met. In this regard, union representation plays a significant role in compelling firms to adopt certain health and safety measures that expose individuals to an enabling environment where they can accomplish their expected outcomes.
From the above analysis, it is prudent to observe that firms must be ready to accept the cost of union representation to benefit from the increased level of professionalism that yields desired outcomes in the workplace. Unlike other employees, unionized workers possess standard qualifications that are critical to the ability of firms to accomplish their expected results. In extreme scenarios, firms may be burdened by the expensive cost of operation attributed to the high wages remunerated to the unionized employees. In the same vein, organizations may fail to achieve their desired goals because of the high cases of indiscipline among unionized employees, which limit the nature of actions firms can take to streamline operations in the workplace. From this realization, there is a need to accomplish certain milestones that are associated with the benefits of hiring unionized and non-unionized employees because of the need to improve the outcome of events in the business environment.
Fisk, C. L., Mitchell, D. J., & Erickson, C. L. (2018). Union representation of immigrant janitors in Southern California: Economic and legal challenges. In Organizing Immigrants (pp. 199-224). Cornell University Press.
Harcourt, M., Gall, G., Vimal Kumar, R., & Croucher, R. (2019). A union default: a policy to raise union membership, promote the freedom to associate, protect the freedom not to associate and progress union representation. Industrial Law Journal, 48(1), 66-97.
Subramony, M., Guthrie, J. P., &Dooney, J. (2021). Investing in HR? Human resource function investments and labor productivity in US organizations. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 32(2), 307-330.