CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF UNIONS BUS 372 Employee & Labor Relations November 9, 2011 CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF UNIONS At the inception of unions, its members consisted of “blue-collar” workers concentrated in the manufacturing sector. Today, only about 35% of union members remain in this sector, requiring unions to expand beyond manufacturing to broaden their membership ranks. Unions are undergoing new developments to increase membership. Entering into the twenty-first century unions will emerge into a new dimension.
The labor union is constantly changing, experiencing a decline in membership, losing influence and power but through experience and careful planning things change. Unions have gone through dramatic changes over the past century. The changing landscape of the unions is not only coming from decline in membership but from modern technology also. In order to show that they can change things have to change. Unions need to have the ability to show that they can effectively get their influence back, increase membership, and power.
In the last century unions have been successful at negotiations especially when it came to bargaining agreements on behalf of their members. Union membership has evolved it a big way in the 21st century. No one can dispute labor’s staying power, given the labor movement’s deep penetration into virtually all the traditional parts of our economy and it continuing hold on these areas (Sloane, Witney 2011 p. 20). Local unions at times have engaged in a variety of social, educational, and community activities. Union leaders realize that the welfare of their members depends on part on a progressive and well-run community.
Having vital interest to the schools since union leaders must pay taxes to operate the schools that their member’s children attend. This will lessen the tension between management and organized labor. Many local unions also conduct regularly sponsored and generally effective educational programs this important since more skilled workers are needed (Sloane, et al 2010 p. 180). With new technology that changes every year it is better to keep members well trained for more skilled jobs. Union’s support of the latest technology will help workers keep their jobs instead of hiring new workers into their workplace.
Unions’ purpose is to increase wages and influence better job conditions for all its members. Jobs have moved work from this country to other countries only because they can make more profits from lower wages and more productivity. So with this in mind the labor union can raise hourly wages, better benefits, increase bargaining power and better working conditions, although it seems easy which it will not be but this can help keep American workers with jobs and stop business from going overseas and other foreign countries. Unions can propose to keep manufacturing sector such as plants, factories operating in the United States.
Keep manufacturing equipment and parts in the States so more workers cannot be laid off. Stop using manufacturing products from other countries and start a campaign to only use American made products. Getting the members that they already have to come aboard as a force to be reckoned with on one accord the more numbers the more force. Today there are several major organizations under one company umbrella a large number of unions thru mergers such as AFL-CIO, SEIU, UAW just to name a few representing workers (Sloane, et al 2010 p. 18). These unions have come to understand and address issues that are important to their member in the workplace. Unions can reform to increase their membership by campaigning and adventuring outside of the normal places to get new members to join. Unions have given a voice to their many members concerning fair wages, safety, benefits, health care, and training. Unions can continue to support the training programs that will keep their members up to date with modern technology.
This would help businesses from wanting to go over to other countries why should a business go somewhere else when they will have qualified workers here eager to keep up with the new technology that change all the time. This will also increase membership when the union is willing to train members especially ones that have not joined yet. This can prevent job displacement. Unions can make a win-win situation for unions and businesses by having more trained workers that can adapt to the ever changing technology in the workplace.
Since the changing landscape is not only coming from low membership but new technology. Unions can try to recruit new members so that they can have more bargaining power so that jobs cannot be shifted overseas because of lower wages. The more jobs that the United States can provide the more employees can keep their jobs. Global competition is growing many unions have sought to offset this handicap by banding together for contract negotiations purposes in what is known as coordinated bargaining.
This universally denotes the presentation of united union front at the bargaining table and often also involves common union demands (Sloane et al 2010 p. 218). Unions can reform by using reverse tactics, keep corporations from operating in various countries, get control over the combination of tax concessions, control the lower-cost labor abroad, and get more control over accessibility to vital material. Get control over the expanded employment that is going across the U. S. Unions can get together and stop workers from being displaced and passing higher cost to consumers.
This will give unions more effective power of collective bargaining agreements to keep manufacturing facilities, keep members, and jobs. Today’s collective bargaining sessions have no place for the uninformed, the inept, or the unskilled (Sloane et al 2010 p. 234). Unions must do everything to survive in this next century by giving member what they want and keeping goals that they have set for each other. Reference Sloane, A. A. , & Witney, F. (2010). Labor relations. 13th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Pearson Educational, Inc.
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