Human Resources Unions When Unions Term Paper

Length: 10 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Careers Type: Term Paper Paper: #98734194 Related Topics: Human Relations, Human Resource Development, Water Resources, Human Body
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Unions have been dropping members at an incredible rate. The trouble can't be resolved by individual unions dealing with great, monopolistic, international companies. Unions must stick together and work in the political ring to elect government officials who understand that the nation is here for the citizens, and not for business (the Decline of Unions -- Why, 2007).

In 2000 the Union Network Federation (UNI) was fashioned with the purpose of structuring a coalition that could represent employees across many nations. According to UNI, when businesses are local, unions can be local; when businesses are national, unions must be national; when businesses are international, unions must be international. Apart from UNI, there are quite a few other international trade unions that could have some pressure on the expansion of unions internationally in the future. There are presently ten Global Union Federations (GUF's), which are the global representatives of unions in precise industry divisions or work-related factions. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) represents the majority of national trade union centers or federations. Individual unions may belong to numerous GUF's, depending on the amount of businesses that belong to that union, and numerous relate to the ICFTU through their national trade union federation. While a lot of these global union bodies have been in existence for several years, their influence may grow if the brunt of globalization leads to more union action at the global level (the Future of Unions, 2005).

Management, sensing the pressure of foreign and domestic rivalry, is today less eager to agree to union wants for advanced wages and benefits than before. It also is much more forceful about combating unions' efforts to organize workers. Strikes were rare in the 1980's and 1990's, as employers became more willing to hire strikebreakers when unions walked out and to keep them on the job when the strike had ended. They were encouraged in that attitude when President Ronald Reagan in 1981 fired unlawfully striking air traffic controllers working for the Federal Aviation Administration (the Decline of Union Power, 2011).

As if these troubles were not enough, years of unconstructive promotion about dishonesty in the big Teamsters Union and other unions have harmed the labor movement. Even unions' historical achievements in increasing wages and benefits and enhancing the work setting have worked against additional increases by making newer, younger employees conclude they no longer need unions to advance their causes. Union arguments that they give employees a say in roughly all aspects of their jobs, including work-site security and work complaints, are frequently overlooked. The type of self-determining minded young employees who ignited the spectacular rise of high technology companies have little attention in belonging to associations that they consider nullify self-determination. Conceivably the biggest reason for decline is that unions have faced problems in gaining new members in the late 1990's; was the surprising force of the market. At the end of 1999, the joblessness rate had fallen to four percent. It was thought that only those who were in between jobs or constantly without a job were out of work. For all the doubts that economic alterations had produced, the wealth of jobs reinstated assurance that America was still a land of occasion (the Decline of Union Power, 2011).

Another factor in union decline has been that of automation. It is an ongoing challenge for union members. Many older plants have put into place labor-saving automated machinery in order to execute tasks formerly handled by employees. Unions have sought, with limited accomplishment, a diversity of measures to defend jobs and incomes. These have included free retraining, shorter workweeks to distribute the accessible work amongst workers, and guaranteed annual earnings. The move to service industry employment, where unions conventionally have been weaker, also has been a grave problem for labor unions. Women, young people, temporary and part-time workers are all less receptive to union membership and hold a big amount of the new jobs that have been created in recent years. Another factor is that a lot of American industry has moved to the southern and western parts of the United States, which are regions that have a weaker union custom than do the northern and the eastern regions (the Decline of Union Power, 2011).

The future of unions is very hazy. Unions have, in general, finally comprehended the necessity to organize and grow. Unfortunately, the


When manufacturing was vivacious, unions could achieve much just by dealing with employers. Now, they have to rely a lot more on political activity, which is often difficult. Furthermore, with the decline of manufacturing, a very big portion of the union movement is made up of public-sector unions. Since employees in the public sector are paid out of tax revenue and not from corporate income, the public looks at desires for raises as attacks on their own pocketbooks, and they aren't as understanding as they would be if private companies were concerned. If unions are going to reverse their slide, the members are going to have to make a campaign of it. Members and their whole families will have to be the crusaders if unions are to succeed, and the campaign is thought to have to start soon (the Decline of Unions -- Why, 2007).

More long-range issues, such as the force on political associations, international actions and the altering demographics of union members, are less apparent. Part of the reason why there is divergence among labor leaders over the best manner for unions to move ahead may be because there is still no concrete agreement on why unions have declined in the United States so radically over the past forty years. Opponents of unions often dispute that they have made it more complicated to contend internationally, are too politically ingrained and have fashioned unnecessary disagreement between employees and employers that has led to declines in manufacture and competitiveness, therefore dropping the amount of U.S. jobs that are most likely to be unionized. The altering nature of work and the expansion of employment legislation that defends workers are also frequently cited as key grounds why unions have declined. These advances may have led more workers to decide that joining a union was no longer needed (the Future of Unions, 2005).

Understanding the decline in unions within the United States is made more complicated when bearing in mind that trends in union membership in a lot of other nations have been very dissimilar. Some labor analysts dispute that social and political issues play the most important role in shaping levels of union membership inside particular nations. Other labor analysts focus more on the significance of financial trends, citing the expansion in international competition from low earnings nations, particularly in the manufacturing sector, as the main cause for the decline of manufacturing jobs, the conventional base for union recruitment. Labor analysts highlighting the significance of financial factors in shaping levels of union membership argue that nations where labor union membership continues to be high are merely responding more gradually than the United States to the new global financial landscape due to their more unbending employment formations (the Future of Unions, 2005).

It's obvious that fewer and fewer American workers feel the need to join labor unions. This helps to explain why labor leaders have been so obstinate in their labors to alter U.S. labor law in order to give union organizers better influence. In preceding years these labors were marked by union support for legislation like card check but union leaders and their partners in Washington are now more focused on utilizing executive branch actions like rules and NLRB cases to alter the rules (Smith, 2011).

In recent years, Big Labor has been seen turning increasingly leftward, promoting a progressive political and social program that has little do with jobs formation and economic expansion. This is seen as a result of the public sector unions and their leadership trained in government and politics, not on the factory floor. The ongoing rise in public sector unions means that fewer union leaders will be connected with the private sector manufacturing economy, which in the end pays for all the government union jobs. Union leaders have been looking for numerous occasions to enlarge the size of government, which would eventually lead to more public sector workers, which in turn would increase union members. Policymakers need to focus their efforts on developing policies that facilitate employers to create jobs, rather than looking for ways to prop up union membership by altering U.S. labor laws (Smith, 2011).

The AFL/CIO is optimistic about union membership, pointing out new gains in membership among women and…

Sources Used in Documents:


7.6. Labor Unions. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2011, from Web site: Decline of Smith, Keith. (2011). Employees Continue to Not Join Labor Unions. Retrieved March 11, 2011,


The Decline of Unions -- Why? (2007). Retrieved March 11, 2011, from Web site:

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