Table of ContentTopic Page NumberIntroduction 01Background Case 01Problem Statement 01Options to solve the case 02Recommendation 03Conclusion 04
1. IntroductionLabour unions have been widely viewed as the primary means by which workers can collectively achievedemocratic rights and protections within the employment relation, whether in the form of “concrete freedomon the job” (Perlman,1928), industrial jurisprudence (Slichter,1941) or collective voice in the determinationof the terms and conditions of their employment (Freeman and Medoff,1984).Every union-management relationship, like every human being, is a unique totality, but, as in the case ofindividual human beings, has characteristics and combinations of characteristics which are more or lesswidely shared (Derber.M , Chalmers.W.E., 1961)2. Background of the caseCase discusses the situation at Olympic Corporation, where there is dissatisfaction among the labour unionon the handling of safety hazard at the plant. The union leaders, Maurice, McCarthy and Mueller havestaged a walkout at the plant effecting the production. The plant manager and supervisor, Robert Palmer andTom Harper have decided to suspend all of them based on the Article 15 of contractual agreement betweenthe company and union. This leads to a serious picket and negotiations with Felix Schulte, an InternationalUnion Representative as the mediator.3. Problem StatementEmployees not satisfied with the actions taken are causing problem by staging a retaliatory slowdown andusing harassment tactics against the management, the plant manager needs to take appropriate action tochange this situation.4. Three options to solve the problemFirst option the plant manager has is to dissolve the labour union and replace with an alternative form ofrepresentation in the management. It is possible that alternative forms of representation have come to serveas effective substitutes for unions. Particularly noteworthy have been American-style works councils,
traditionally labeled as “company unions” but referred to in this paper as “management-establishedrepresentation systems”(Godard & Frege, 2013)This solution would be effective and cost efficient, as the management would be able take control of theworkers activities and needs. There would be direct control without the involvement of the workersthemselves, hence avoiding the walk out and retaliatory slowdown faced in the corporation. Even thoughthere is a upper hand in the management side, The unions continue to matter to workplace authorityrelations (even if largely indirectly, through employer practices) is consistent with arguments for labor lawsreforms to enhance union organizing effectiveness(Godard & Frege, 2013)The second option the plant manager has is to retain the labour union but provide sufficient training in termsof union ethics. Union effectiveness also requires union legitimacy both in union objectives and methods ofoperation. Legitimacy, this essay contends, is most consistently achieved and maintained by compliancewith a set of ethical principles that are made part of the training and education of every union actor andactivist(Cohen, 2008).Ethics training would increase obedience to the laws that provide minimum standards of fiduciaryresponsibility, financial accountability, democracy, free speech and member involvement, fairrepresentation, and nondiscrimination among represented workers. This would reduce the defiance andtroublemaking attitude projected by the labour union leaders and members. The down side of theimplementation will be cost of training and the time employees have to take off the production line to be atthe training facilities.Third option the plant manager has in hand is to make the labour law, regulations and contract an importantbasis of labour union existence in the organization. An overwhelming percentage of labour contracts areself-enforcing. In most instances, arbitration provisions of collective bargaining agreements are respected bythe parties (Marshall, 1963).
Implementing the labour law in practice at the organization would create a sense of responsibility to thecontracts agreed by the union on the members. This would make the decision taken by the management interm of disciplinary decisive. The implementation cost is minimal but the implementation would cost amoral barrier between the employers and employees. The workplace will be more rigid in nature and causeunnecessary stress on the working environment.5. RecommendationBased on the arguments above, despite the cost, Training the labour union and its members on union ethicswould create a more stable labour union. The training would provide an in depth view of the management ofthe labor union, as well as a sense of responsibility in handling day to day tasks at the respective workstations. The unions problem is not only to give its members an understanding of unionism but also toeducate them inthe practice of democracy(Gamm.S, 1944).6. ConclusionLabour Union clearly plays a vital role in establishing the needs and comfort of the employee in theorganization to its management. The labour unions anyhow also have to play an important role in ensuringthe interest of the organization and the business is not compromised at any cost. Even when there aredisputes and disagreements the labour union should always consult and consolidate the management’srequest. These ethics of union will always give way for a win-win situation between both parties of theunion contract.
ReferencesCohen,M. (2008). Union Ethics Training : Building The Legitimacy and Effectiveness of Organized Labor.The Journal of Labor and Society, 11(September 2008), 363–382.Derber.M, Chalmers.W.E., S.(1961). Uniformities and Differences in Local Union-Management Relationship.Indutrial and Labour relations review, 56 – 71.Freeman, Richard, and James Medoff. 1984. What Do Unions Do? New York: Basic BooksGamm.S, B.W.(1944). A union’s steward-training program. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 249 – 256.Godard, J., & Frege, C. (2013). Labor Unions, Alternative Forms Of Representation, And The Exercise OfAuthority Relations In U.S. Workplaces. ILRReview, 66(January 2013).Marshall, P. G. (1963). Enforcing the Labor Conract. Labor Law Journal, (April), 353–358.Perlman, Selig. 1949. A Theory of the Labor Movement. New York: Augustus M. KelleySlichter, Sumner. 1941. Union Policies and Industrial Management. Washington, DC: TheBrookings Institute