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Chapter 13

BU354 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Human Resource Management, International Labour Organization, Social Movement UnionismPremium

10 pages80 viewsFall 2018

Department
Business
Course Code
BU354
Professor
Shawn Komar
Chapter
13

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Chapter 13 The Union Management Framework
A union is an organization with the legal authority to represent workers, negotiate the terms and
conditions of employment with the employer, and administer the collective agreement
Unionized organizations are often lumped together, there is growing evidence that the quality of the
relationship between an employer and union is a major factor in predicating firm performance
Why Employees Seek Union Representation
Once a union is organized, it becomes the employees bargaining agent and the employer is legally
obligated to meet with the union and bargain a labour contract a collective agreement
A collective agreement/ ”rule book” – addresses a variety of issues such as wage and benefits, hours of
work, working conditions, and related issues such as grievance procedures, safety standards,
probationary periods, and work assignments
o Usually negotiated between the local unions bargaining committee and HR department
o Places restrictions on managements rights in managing the workplace
o Ensure employees are made aware of the terms of the agreement and provide training
regarding interpretation and application
Causes of Unionization
Vary from person to person
The union push explanation asserts that some employees are pushed or forced into joining a union
because of employer treatment of the workforce, peer pressure by co-workers, or a collective
agreement requiring an employee to join if he or she wants the job
The union pull explanation employees are pulled into the union because of the benefits of union
representation
o Higher wages, greater benefits, job security, and grievance representation
Important to distinguish between the desire for union representation and the opportunity to do so
o Job dissatisfaction, individual attitudes towards unions in general, and perceived union
instrumentality - most important factors in the decision to join a union
Workers who want to become managers may believe union membership damages their chances for
promotion
o Other employees view unions as “just another boss” that leads to extra costs
o Bad experiences with unions may force people to have negative opinions
Labour Unions: Goals and Structure
Unions change the relationship between employees and the organization, and the human resource
department’s involvement in union-related issues is not always well received by lower levels of
management
Unions have a major effect on work environment
o Supervisors and managers retain their primary responsibility for employee performance
o Profit objective are not shared with the union
o Union does not assume the responsibilities of the HR department
Union Goals and Philosophy
A unions objectives are influenced internally by the wishes of their members, aspirations of their
leaders, and the financial and membership strength of the union
Open social systems that are affected by their external environment
o Financial condition of employer
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o Gains of other unions
o Inflation and unemployment rates
o Government policies
Mission for the labour movement was to protect workers, increase pay and improve working
conditions
o Business unionism recognizes that a union can survive only if it delivers a needed service to
its members in a businesslike manner
o Social unionism influence the economic and social policies of government at all levels
Pursue the objectives by speaking out for or against government programs
Human resource management is influenced by both business and social unionism goals
Union Structure and Functions
Local Unions
Most important part of the union structure
Provide members, the revenue, and the power of the entire union movement
Craft unions are composed of workers who possess the same skills or trades
Industrial unions the unskilled and semiskilled workers at a particular location
The union steward is usually elected by the workers and helps them present their problems to
management
o In an industrial union, if the steward cannot help the employee, the problem is given to the
grievance committee, which takes the issue to higher levels of management
o In craft unions, the steward (representative) take the issue directly to the business agent
National and International Unions
Many local unions are part of a larger union, which may be a national union or international union
o National unions are based in Canada, while international have their headquarters outside of the
country
National and international unions exist to organize and help local unions
They pursue social objectives of interest to their members and frequently maintain a staff that assists
the local union with negotiations, grievance handling, and expert advice
National or international unions play a very active role in local union affairs
Canadian Labour Congress
Represents many unions in Canada
5 main functions;
o representing Canada at the International Labour Organization
o influencing public policy at the federal level
o enforcing the code of ethics set out in its constitution
o providing services for its member unions
o resolving jurisdictional disputes among its member unions
Trends in Union Membership
Education was the most highly unionized, public administration, utilities, health care and social
assistance
Number of women members in Canadian unions has been increasing rapidly
Unions today are acknowledging that traditional approaches to organizing and collective bargaining are
becoming less relevant today
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Many Canadians view union workers as being in a blue-collar or government occupation so there is a
growing recognition of the need to appeal to other employees
On the global scene, a number of countries have experienced a decline in union density causes;
o Decline in the manufacturing sector
o The constraints that globalization of financial markets have put on macroeconomic policies
o Competition from developing countries with low labour costs, resulting in the loss of low-skill,
labour intensive jobs in high wage countries
The Impact of Union Representation
Classifying strikes in two potential categories;
o Strikes as mistakes/misjudgments
Parties have uncertain and imperfect information when trying to negotiate an
agreement or because one or both negotiation team are inexperienced negotiators
o Strikes as Collective Voice
Perception on the part of workers that they are not being treated fairly
A strike is considered a mechanism by which to voice discontent to management
An extended strike puts considerable financial pressure on employees as well as their family physical
and emotional harm may be an issue
Once the dispute is settled, employees have to return to a workplace and work team that just a few
days before were divided by a fundamental conflict
It can take four to six weeks to return to normal working conditions, and some workplaces are never
really the same
What factors distinguish firms with lower strike activity?
o Workers had more autonomy in the workplace
o The employer introduced progressive HRM practices
o The union was a strategically weak position
o Employers have a large share of the market
Some employer groups are arguing that the ban on replacement workers does not reduce the number
of strikes/lockouts
One issue that frequently comes up after a strike is settled concerns rebuilding the labour
management relationship
o A strike changes the relationship, often leads to workplace conflict, and typically destroys the
trust between parties
Wages and Benefits
Union avg pay - $28.33 nonunion $23.47
Unions and Productivity
Unions have a monopoly face that creates economic inefficiency by introducing restrictive and
inflexible work rules, withdrawing labour in the form of a strike if an employer fails to meet union
demands, and increasing compensation costs
OR unions have a voice face that increases productivity by reducing turnover, enhancing employee
morale, improving communications with workers, and shocking management into employing more
efficient workplace practices
Unions;
o Reduce employee turnover
o Increase tenure with the firm
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