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Collective Bargaining

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Labor Organizations

Employees gaining the right to collectively bargain with employers is an important part of our nations' history. According to Carrell & Heavrin (2013) the labor organization, commonly referred to as a union, is an employee committee or other organization that deals with employers concerning grievances, labor disputes, wages, hours and working conditions (p.5). The union representatives are selected by a group of employees to represent them to bargain with the employer.

There are many examples of labor problems during the industrial revolution period of U.S. history. According to the National Labor Relations Board (2013), the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was enacted in 1935 to protect the rights of both employees and employers, to reduce certain private sector labor and management practices, businesses and the U.S. economy. Some examples of problems during this period include the military being involved, as well as deaths occurring. The NLRA was the precursor to many other employee rights, laws and acts that followed such as the Equal Pay Act , the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and more recently the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

There are both pros and cons for employees and the employer or management. One of the employee pros of having a union is that "employees shall have the right to self-organize, to form, join, or assist labor organizations and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing (Carrell & Heavrin, 2013, p. 7)." Some other pros for members are higher wages, job security, and better benefits. Some of the cons for members are having to pay union dues, and fewer rewards based on performance. According to Carrell & Heavrin (2013), some of the management pros are having a system for grievances, fewer individual complaints, and standardized workplace rules. Some management cons are less flexible work rules, less competetive business environment than non-union businesses, and more time required for grievances.

According to Carrell & Heavrin (2013), in 2009, for the first time, the number of union members working in the public sector exceeded the number of union members working in the private sector. There are likely many reasons for this. A large number of American manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas. A reversing trend with unions began in the 1960s when President Kennedy issued an Executive Order that first allowed federal employees to organize into unions (Carrell & Heavrin, 2013). Labor unions in the private sector, such as manufacturing, has significantly reduced over the last 20 years. Numerous reasons may be contributed to this decline including frustration with union leadership, reduced nonunion membership, global marketplace changes, and managements' effort to maintain worker-friendly relations (Carrell & Heavrin, 2013).



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