Understanding Ethics Essay

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Union Shops, Moral Point-of-View

This study intends to assess the morals of union shops using a case study. Morals are principles that guide the conduct of an individual on what is right and wrong. They emanate from within the belief systems that one holds. The actions of union shops as an entity can be subject to scrutiny. Thus, using the theories of ethics and morals one can establish how acceptable the actions of the unions are. This study will also examine the actions of other agents in the case study under analysis.

A case analysis using ethics theories

Case 8.5 is an illustration of the conflict of interest between Mr. Paul, the union, his employer and National Right to Work Legal Foundation. Mr. Paul is a licensed electrician who has a vast experience and skill. He gets a job with Bechtel Power Corporation to work in their power plant. He works for three months and the company lays him off. The explanation for his termination is that the company is cutting down its workforce.

The week before Mr. Paul's termination, the company had taken in nineteen electricians through a local union. In the workforce reduction process among those that the company did not fire were sixty-five electricians who were without licenses. A critical analysis of the company's actions reveals a case of wrongful termination. Ethically Mr. Paul termination was not right. He has the experience and requirement necessary to work as an electrician. Mr. Paul sues the company job discrimination, which is unlawful.

An administrative judge who rules in his favor hears his case. The judge orders that Mr. Paul receive a compensation for unfair treatment. The National Labor Relations Board fails to uphold this decision. Mr. Paul applies for an appeal to challenge the board's decision. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundations steps in to offer Mr. Paul legal counsel. This case brings into question the ethic and morality of individual and institution.

The company has an interest in firing of a licensed electrician and retaining of the non-licensed. The licensed electrician is threat to the organization as his job mobility as it compares with the non-licensed. Further, if the company's payment system is meritocratic his pay is high. The company incurs a higher cost to maintain him in the organization than the other does. Mr. Paul's experience also makes him to less gullible. The company, therefore, gains more by disposing of him and retaining the non-licensed electricians.

The company takes from employees the local union. The terms of employing these employees could be favorable for the company thus it acceptance to have them work in the organization. The union will gain popularity among the job seekers. The unemployed will register to be members of this union to try to increase their chances of securing a job. The membership subscription fee to the union will rise. The now employed members will be able to pay their dues to the union. The union will have sufficient funds to advance it agendas.

Collective bargaining by the labor unions has brought improvements in the work place. Employees who are members of labor shops benefit from better working conditions and wages. Unionized employees have health insurance cover paid by their employers. In addition, they are able to access retirement benefits from their employers with relative ease in comparison with their non-union counterparts. The termination of union members from their jobs happens only when there is a serious misconduct.

Mr. Paul is not a member of any union. As a result, it becomes easy to fire him using mundane reasons. He has chosen not to join the trade unions. The cost of joining a trade union to an employee has to pay a fee to the union and forfeiting the right to represent oneself in bargaining. Mr. Paul's choice has cost him his job and led to unending legal battle for his rights. Mr. Paul has an interest in maintaining of his constitutional right to work.

The decisions made by each of the parties in this case can morally be understood using theories of ethics and morality. The consequentialism theory judges the moral of an action depending on the result. Its basic principle is that the end justifies the means. Using this theory the union is moral; it protects the interests of the employees. The company hires nineteen people through the local union. This means that the actions of the union are bringing greater good to the society.

According to consequentialism theory, the actions of Mr. Paul are not moral (Ta-nnsjo?, 23). He lost his job, which is as a consequence is a bad ending. The first time he goes to court, it does not yield a result that he desires, in the light of this course of action is not moral. The proponent of this theory would have considered Mr. Paul to be a selfish person who is conceited. The appeal that he makes yields positive result indicating his action to be moral. The company is moral as it fires one person, retains many, and hires more others.

The utilitarian theory of ethics closely relates to the consequentialism theory (Brooks, 18)

. The only divergence in its argument is that the measure of morals is the extent of pain and pleasure this is according to Jeremy a proponent of this theory.. The pain and pleasure of actions are explicit in a form of consequences' thus the similarity in the two theories. The premises of the theory would argue that the company is not moral in dealing with Mr. Paul. However the retaining of more employees and hiring of other brings happiness thus in this regard the company is ethical.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is ethical according to both the utilitarian theory and the consequentialism theory. The foundation works for the right of those who have been unfairly treated in the labor industry. The organization is moral in the perspective of those that receive legal assistance. The union and employers that are taken to court by this organization see it as an aggressor that causes them pain.

The non- consequentialism theory concerns on the intrinsic motive behind an action. The character of the individual acting is the basis with which this theory defines ethics and moral. It is a theory that looks at virtue (Ta-nnsjo? 28). In the case analysis of Mr. Paul, using this theory we find him to be blameless. He did nothing wrong. The company fired him out of their out ulterior motives. The actions of the company are unethical.

The union does not have a direct participation in the firing of Mr. Paul. However, by deduction Mr. Paul a non-union member gets terminated on the basis of workforce reduction while the company hires nineteen men through the union. The actions of the union suggest foul play towards Mr. Paul. Thus, the moral of the union are questionable. The National Labor Relation Board has low morals. This is evident when the board retaliates it decision to support Mr. Paul find justice for against discrimination.

The theories of ethics try to bring into perspective the understanding of morals and ethics. The utilitarian theory and the consequentialism theory are of the same school of thought (Ta-nnsjo? 26). Their perspectives revolve around the outcome of an action. The consequentialism theory contrasts with the utilitarian theory in that its approach to ethics while the utilitarian focuses on the emotional responses that the consequences of an action elicit. The non- consequentialism theory differs from these two theories completely. It does not focus on the outcome of an action, but the motive that behind the action.


The moral of a persons' action cannot be judged exclusively using one perspective. The context of the situation in question and all participating elements…[continue]

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