Summative Assessment: Unionization
BUS 372: Employee & Labor Relations
Unionization happens when workers are displeased and unhappy with the work environment and wages. In the Delta Electric Manufacturing Organization, with various places in the United States and factories in China and France, workers were fed up with the persistent systematic labor violations and were willing to unionize. The workers believe that the union will help them ensure that the organization treats them fairly. By the representation of the right union, workers nationally and internationally will have a chance to bargain with the management collectively. Therefore, choosing the right union is critical for workers to succeed with collective bargaining to be awarded the right to have more satisfying salaries and working conditions.
Union Organizing Process
The first rule in organizing is that workers must be identified. According to Seaquist (2015), "in forming a union is to identify which members of the working unit qualify to participate in the representation election" (ch. 4.1). It is significant to identify employees because declaring it does not justify employment. Although no definition pertains to a qualified employee following the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), there is a description of who is not qualified, such as an independent contractor, supervisor, and government workers (Seaquist, 2015). Employees are workers getting compensated by the company and carrying obligations and responsibilities under the company's supervision and control.
Identifying employees is a significant factor in unionization and collective bargaining. Establishing employees' position as a worker is essential to find out if that employee can be a member of a negotiating unit. "A bargaining or negotiating unit is a group of employees who share a common interest and, therefore, can be identified as a discrete group. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) applies a community of interest test to determine the group's common interest" (Seaquist, 2015, ch. 4.1). Coming together to pursue a common interest ensures the right to collectively bargain. "When workers form a union, unionization ensures the right to negotiate wages, working conditions, and benefits with employers (AFL-CIO, 2014). Therefore, employees unified with the same business, job, or function are more likely to be a part of the bargaining unit.
Furthermore, permission card signage, a request to NLRB, and voting of the union are necessary measures in the labor organization process. Permission card signage is a sign that workers are ready to be a member of the union. “If the prospective unit can garner at least 30% of all bargaining unit workers’ support, the workers can then file a petition with the NLRB asking for representation by the union of their choice” (Seaquist, 2015, ch. 4.1). A union must be chosen before a union can represent the employees seeking better salaries and working situations.
Identify the Union
The Delta Electric Manufacturing Organization has many branches in the United States, and factories in China and France. The decision based on which union would fit the best for the organization, one must look at the overall representation nationally and internationally. The International Trade Union Confederation is a union that serves nationally and internationally. “The ITUC regional organizations are the Asia-Pacific Regional Organization (ITUC-AP), the African Regional Organization (ITUC-AF), and the American Regional Organization (TUCA). It cooperates with the European Trade Union Confederation, including through the Pan-European Regional Council” (International Trade Union Confederation, n.d., para.4). To be able to converse with workers in various areas nationally and internationally, it can become clear to what issues need representation and the agreement to be made collectively. “Representing 176 million workers, its primary mission is to promote and defend the rights of workers, which it accomplishes through campaigning, advocacy, and cooperation. The organization is currently working on the issues of child labor and domestic workers, to name a few” (Seaquist, 2015, ch. 9.1). Tackling the issues of persistent systematic labor violations of the Delta Electric Manufacturing Organization, ITUC has the experience to reach workers in the United States, China, and France. “The ITUC’s primary mission is the promotion and defense of workers’ rights and interests, through international cooperation between trade unions, global campaigning, and advocacy within the major global institutions” (International Trade Union Confederation, n.d., para. 1). The best way to help Electric Manufacturing Organization’s employees is to find the best possible union that can help them.
In order to demand better wages and working conditions from employers, employees must first understand that to fight for their rights, employees must follow guidelines, rules, and regulations an organization put in the workplace. According to WorkSafe BC (2020), employee's responsibilities are reporting a hazardous situation to a manager or supervisor. “Follow work safety precautions and act safely in the workplace. Use PPE (proper protective equipment) when necessary. Cooperate with joint occupational health and safety committees. Never work under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other substance that can impaired work." Thus, disregarding these rules may be subject to denial of claims pertaining to persistent systematic labor violations.
Ways Union can help Labor
Workers believe that through the union, they can better their working lives; thus, the union has the power of collective bargaining. According to Seaquist (2015), “labor unions first formed when employees became tired of suffering brutal working conditions that featured few rules governing the number of hours worked, the safety of conditions, or fair pay” (ch. 1.2). Although labor laws are in place to help workers with their working conditions, organizations still practice unfair labor. Additionally, most times, management does not want to hear if a worker complains to management about its working conditions or wages. Such as the situation with Electric Manufacturing Organization, persistent systematic labor violations were noted, and employees seek union to help them resort to an agreement with management. “All tentative agreements should be put in writing and initialed by all of the parties with representative capacity. At the conclusion of the negotiations, the parties sign a memorandum of agreement that is subject to ratification by the bargaining unit” (Seaquist, 2015. ch. 7.2). The union’s goal is to conclude the negotiation with an agreement that management and employees can agree upon.
Management Response to Unionization
When management learns that their employees are unionizing, they attempt to discourage them, which sometimes violates the NLRA. However, one of the best thing’s management can do when they learn that their employees are unionizing is to hire a team of experts for guidance and a labor consultant familiar with the NLRB rulings (Seaquist, 2015). Additionally, “management can legally express any views, arguments or opinions concerning union representation without running afoul of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act if the expression contains no threat of reprisal or force or promise of benefit” (Seaquist, 2015, ch. 4.2). The employer can also predict the outcome of unionization in the company with factual base information. Employers can also discuss any facts pertaining to the impact of the union in the organization without violating Section 8(a)(1) of the NLRA. Letting workers unionize can benefit both workers and employers.
Unionization of Overseas Workers
Delta Electric Manufacturing Organization can be considered Transnational Corporations (TNCs) because they have various places in the United States and factories in China and France. According to Seaquist (2015), "transnational collective bargaining refers to a process occurs when different unions in more than one country negotiate jointly with the same company. It may also mean that a corporation doing business in many countries enters into a collective bargaining agreement with other unions" (ch. 9.1). However, hiring ITUC, as the right union, can help reach employees in China and France who want to join the union and participate in collective bargaining. As a transnational bargaining unit, ITUC will help best serve the workers locally and globally.
The Effects of Globalization on Unionization
With globalization, the ability of the union to congregate in a meaningful is limited. "It is difficult to organize workers when they are spread across continents. Not only are language barriers a challenge, but workers who reside in other countries have different social and political paradigms, along with vastly different workplace customs" (Seaquist, 2015, ch. 9.1). It is highly unlikely to get everyone to agree on a strike around the world, although it is not impossible. Another effect of globalization in unionization is decentralization. Organizing one area is already challenging enough, making it twice as much like in decentralization, which makes it more challenging to handle.
Because of unionization, workers now have the right to bargain with the organization collectively. Getting the right union to represent workers is tricky. However, the International Trade Union Confederation is the right union for the Delta Electric Manufacturing Organization to negotiate because of their global experience. With the representation of ITUC, workers at Delta Electric Manufacturing Organization will have hope of getting awarded with fair wages and better working conditions.
AFL-CIO. (2014). Collective bargaining. http://www.aflcio.org/Learn-About-Unions/Collective-Bargaining
International Trade Union Confederation (n.d.). The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is the global voice of the world’s working people. https://www.ituc-csi.org/about-us
Seaquist, G. (2015). Employee and labor relations: A practical guide. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education.
WorkSafeBC (2020). Roles, rights, and responsibilities. https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/create-manage/rights-responsibilities
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