Labor unions began to form back in the eighteen century as a response to the increase in workers that needed representation due to the industrial revolution in Europe. Collective bargaining and unions create an atmosphere of stability and job security in the workplace. One of the main responsibilities of a union is to set rules and regulations that every employee who joins the union should follow. These rules and regulations create a check and balance system where not only the employees are benefited, but the employer as it sets a balance between parties with different views or perspectives. However, it as not always this way “During this early period of growth and development, unions’ organizational health was highly dependent on national economic conditions; unions suffered during hard times and revived during more prosperous times” (Kearney, p. 3). A good example of growth relates to the times of the Civil War and after why? Due to the fact, that employment rises because of the industrial growth because of the war. Back then, people were trying to have a stable job and security and collective bargaining and joining a union was one way to accomplish this goal.
In addition, “The concrete presence of collective bargaining should be embraced as a minimum condition of employment. Authoritarian enterprise governance should be rejected as inconsistent with a democratic, human-rights-compliant world (Roy, p. 154). Therefore, no matter where an individual works he/she should have to right to bargain when needed. This replaces management/employment paramountcy with a system of democracy where organizing and fighting collectively for what is right is accepted.
Another, of the benefits of collective bargaining, is that everything is done in writing for both parties the employee and the employer. Both parties know what to do, how to do it and when it needs to be done by. It is important to keep in mind that because of the importance of the process and way agreements are structured. These rules and regulations are followed carefully and precisely. Once an agreement has been reached; it can only be altered by collective negotiation. There is not a single person who makes a decision, everything is done collectively so that the greater good can benefit. In fact, “the state through laws on one hand and the unions through collective agreements on the other hand limit the autonomy of employers and order them to respect regulations set by both laws and collective agreements when concluding employment agreements” (Jashira & Pepaj, p. 107).
Furthermore, another positive aspect of unions is that it decreases the turnover at the workplace. “Efficiency wage theory posits that higher wages in organizations with unions enable the retention of employees because they are not willing to risk earning less money in other jobs” (Choi & Chung, p. 214). Keeping top talent in an organization is key to its success. By having competitive wages a company is able to retain top talent and at the same time attract others who would like to have better compensation than in their current job. This situation is a win-win for both parties involved in the negotiation.
In addition, the employer is also benefited from not having to spend money to train new employees who leave due to not being compensated accordingly. Training a new employee could sometime be costly, but reducing turnover definitely saves the company money in the long-term. Something noteworthy is that a “union as a representative of employees in collective bargaining often increases wages, improves benefits, and provides protection against unjust treatment. A number of studies indicate that these results have positive effects on employees’ work attitudes such as commitment and job satisfaction” (Choi & Chung, p. 217). It is essentials for employees to feel welcome and appreciated at their workplace. Unions have the ability to improve employees’ satisfaction and retention. A committed employee will always do his best to perform as best as possible.
In the same token, who does not like to feel safe and secure while at work? “Workplace safety refers to “how working conditions in your company affect the workers’ well-being and health.” These include procedures you have in place to protect employees from work-related hazards, and how you handle violence, drug, and alcohol-related problems among workers (Welte & Media). When thinking about safety and security in the workplace the first thing that comes to many people’s mind is someone getting in a building shooting at will and killing others, but in reality, it could be something less serious than that. It could be assault, bullying, threats, theft or violence.
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