Over the years unions have been forced to change with the times. Looking at some of these changes and discussing how the unions have evolved over time will be discussed in this paper. Also the philosophy and how the unions accommodate its members have changes so this to will be discussed. After looking at all of this a couple of proposals will be discussed to help unions broaden their appeal. Unions all over the world are considered to be failing because of their low numbers.
The influence and power unions had over management in companies when it came to policies has faded due to the huge decline in total number of members. (Troy, 2001). Troy stated in his research that the unionism which is experiencing a huge membership demand and the market share in past is now lagging far behind from the expected objective in this regard (Troy, 2001). According to facts from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), countries that are impacted by unions are facing challenges in terms of the diminishing ratio of the workers associated with the union. Kumar & Murray, 2002). Looking at the evaluations from the past years concerning union history, one can analyze that the real challenge that the companies have is to change the organization so that the threat of losing competent union members will be null. Unions should evaluate their history so that they can use the data to formulate a strategy to keep control over the influence of management. Before unions were born the people were born into poor families and had to work in organizations from the age of six, where the average day consisted of 18 hours.
During this time such things as a day off, overtime compensation, and minimum daily wages were only a thing of dreams. “There exist no rules and regulations related to the job security, social security, job insurance, security against layoffs and several other serious issues” (Slupik, 2005, pg 22). Introducing unions into organizations help change the conditions for the employees. These drastic changes made the difference and started a movement in favor of the employees. Individuals could express their individual interest which was previously hampered by the company.
Human resource departments and unions help influence power over the management and obtained authority to stand against the policies of company. If it did not seem to be in the best interest of the worker’s the union would flex its authority to make changes. The unions establish policies and rules that are pro employee and push for fair wages, a fair work schedule, overtime compensation, and job security to name a few. This helped give the employees a piece of mind and helped not only the welfare of the employee but the employer.
Unions over time changed their focus from individual concerns to the organization and the collective concerns of all industries. Unions are now looking at the bigger picture and instead of focusing on the employees of a particular company they are looking at the welfare of all that work in similar industries. This means that the unions are working for and on the behalf of the employee’s and their rights. The unions focus is safeguarding the security of the employees and these interests seem to align with the human resource department.
In the late 20s unions started losing its influence in the industries and due to aggressive attacks from rich and efficient organizations which eventually wiped out unions and created a system of non-union semi-slave labor areas in some other countries. This enabled them to continue to sell their product and services at same or higher prices in the market. By these measure organizations succeeded in reducing the union represented jobs, which was 36% in 1954 to a now lower 16 %. Slupik, 2005) The unions have to implement new philosophies that consider the largest population and broaden its scope of operation to other workplace environments. First union’s must concentrate on diversity and look past their initial focus of manufacturing and broaden its scope to all businesses. With today’s changing economy the manufacturing side of business has diminished so the unions must change in hopes to keep their members. Secondly unions must focus on changing policies within organizations and focus their efforts on those that go against the interest of the people.
This can prove to be a stressful process since policy is constantly changing these days to keep up with government laws. Unions must form partnerships with the companies to keep up with all of these changes. Constant change seems to be the only norm within companies and this causes difficulties for the unions. Looking at some of these changes unions have made and how their philosophies have changed two proposals were briefly discussed to help in this transition. The bottom line is the only way for the unions to keep up with the every changing company is to become fluid and stay one step ahead of them.
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