Labor Union Theory Summary

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Management is a function, as well as a class of people. In this article, network member Ken
Margolies discusses the management function within unions. It’s a subject he knows pretty well, having written a thesis about it. However, despite some great work by Ken and others, we are still a long way from a union theory of management. We know that command-and-control leads to endless problems, but we are still scratching our heads over what to do instead. Perhaps one place we could start is within our own organisations – labor unions. It seems unlikely that we can meet the challenges ahead unless we learn to manage ourselves (and others) better.
Trade or labor unions have been around since the 1930s to resist through equal bargaining power
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Unions represent workers within a given industry in negotiations with their employers. Since the union comprises a group of workers, it has a greater voice than if employees were dealing with employers individually. For example, unions are credited with abolishing sweatshops and child labor in the
United States because they pushed for these practices to end. The National Labor Relations Act guarantees employees’ right to bargain collectively through their chosen labor union representatives.
Unions can organize strikes, boycotts, go-slows and sit-ins to get employers to consider their proposals. Employee Welfare
Unions have successfully fought for better terms and conditions for workers. They represent workers’ interests and have secured a variety of benefits, such as higher wages for unionized employees, work-life balance characterized by reasonable work schedules, job security and protection from arbitrary action by employers. In a September 2012 essay on the CNN website,
Democratic strategist Donna Brazile asserted that is also due in part to union activity
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If the employer does any of these prohibited acts, the union can take it up with the board on behalf of the employees. For example, the union representing Boeing Co. engineers and technical workers filed charges against the company for interfering with employees engaging in concerted union activity. The board investigates charges and may take a variety of actions, including issuance of cease-and-desist or reinstatement orders to remedy unfair treatment against employees. Unions ensure that employers comply with the law and can lodge appeals in federal court if employers do not respect board decisions.
Legislation
Unions also play a key role in developing labor laws and regulations for effective worker protection.
The unions initiate the push for regulation in areas that concern employees in the workplace. They lobby for the creation of laws and regulations and disseminate information to the employees about them. Measures such as the NLRA, the Social Security Act, the Family Medical Leave Act and the
Occupational Safety and Health Act exist as a result of union efforts for better terms and conditions for workers. Unions monitor the status of implementation of employee welfare laws and regulations to ensure they are properly
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