To Organize or Not To Organize?
To Organize or Not To Organize?
Over the months I have worked, the question whether to organize an employees’ union or not has interested me. In the company I work for, Nissan Motors, employees lack a working union. A union is simply a workers organization where members of staff join together to advance and warrant their wages, benefits and operational conditions. These associations are normally protected by the law. Through unions, employees have obtained respect and stronger voices that influence the employers’ decision. The core values of the union such as commitment, competence independence and integrity have to be considered before creating a workers’ union. The reasons why an association should be formed, at what time and the aspects to be considered before the action, are vital in developing a strategic plan for a workers’ union. The benefits of a union and the challenges faced when creating it have to be considered.
Organizing a union would have benefits to the employees and the employer. The union would collectively enable the employees to make negotiations with the management in terms of bargaining agreements. These agreements would envelop the safety of the working places, outsourcing, company standards and decent wages. The management and employees would both have to uphold the approved agreements. Employees would have the benefits from health, vacations, work breaks, insurance and retirement plans depending on the economic and business conditions of the company. The union would seek the wages allocated to its member and make comparisons among other companies. This would encompass the value of the work done and its proportionality to both the value of money and current value (Lacoma, 2013). The union would also work to ascertain the safety standards of the employees. Working in a motor vehicle manufacturing industry can be potentially dangerous. However, government regulations have not been strict on the working conditions of this company and the threat it poses to employees. When a trade union is introduced, it would try to set international standards for the company. Outsourcing of companies would also be limited over a certain period .This is because companies tend to outsource jobs in different nations where wages are of low value in order to get more profits. It would also ensure that all the workers’ wages are equalized internationally. This is through comparing the payments allocated to employees in other countries to the wages in the company. The type of work done and value of the country’s currency are also compared.
Cooperative bargaining and global policies are other benefits of a workers union. The two processes involve the agreement between the union and the company. The agreement permits both sides to attain their respective goals and this is beneficial to all. This is acquired when the unions ensure that its members are doing a perfect job and as per the requirements of the employer. The companies have to ensure that workers receive sufficient wages for the work they have done. The company has to encourage the workers thorough reward programs such as prizes to the best workers.
A working union needs a mission, objective and purpose statement that coincides with its strategic plan. The mission should describe the union’s purpose, how it works and the reason why it was created (Ward, 2013). The union’s mission would be as follows: to uphold, strengthen, protect and preserve the union rights, to organize, educate and negotiate collective agreements, to improve workers ‘productivity, to promote the moral, physical and psychological welfare of the members and build partnerships with civil society organizations.
Ward (2013) further explains that a vision statement is your ticket to success. It should coincide with the union’s vision. The vision should apply the formula in shaping the idea; the company has, in terms of success and development. Thus the appropriate vision assigned to this union would be: Auto workers’ union is at the front line of empowering workers in their effort for just and humane working conditions, to improve the quality of their lives along with contributing to the accomplishment of social, fair and sustainable growth in a democratic atmosphere. Objective plans of an organization put forward the goals that it plans to attain. In the case of this trade union, the objective would be, to obtaining a better working environment and to protect the rights of members in the union.
In organizing a working union, five basic steps have to be considered (Office and professional employees’ international union, 2013). These steps would require a period of five months for completion. The first step is to know the legal rights involved in organizing a work union. The national labor relation act gives workers’ rights that guide the formation of trade unions. The right to attend meetings during non-work time, the right to talk about the union where other non-work talks are allowed and signing of petitions in support of the union are some of the rights that are allowed. References from the constitution will be considered in gathering information about the legal rights on trade unions.
The next step is to gather all the information on the place of work. This would base on the issues my co-workers face and the common themes. A petition would go round the company to determine whether workers interested in forming a union would sign. It would also question the employees if they are already unionized I would print out a questionnaire to the employees inquiring about their knowledge on the employer’s structure, competition and industry. The answers to all these questions would help in the planning of a suitable members union.
Building of the union itself is the third step. Efforts to structure a union differ depending on the workplace. The most thriving way is for workers to take charge of the development themselves. I would create a representatives group comprising of co-workers and name it the organizing committee. The committee’s obligations would be to make sure that the union succeeds. It also has to educate other workers about the benefits of forming a union, the rights under law that accompany unionization and to inspire workers to help in planning the organization strategy with confidence.
Once a strong popular support is observed, the next step would be to make the union official. This can be conducted through the signing of endorsement cards. Secret balloting as an alternative method would be conducted by the National Labor Relations Board, if the first method fails. These results would be more accurate since the board is a neutral government agency. The typical question arises at this point; Will the employer support the workers’ union? At this critical moment, I would encourage the workers to have a strong belief in organizing a trade union though they should be expectant of any outcome. This is because many employers do not advocate the formation of unions since they do not want to lose power over the company.
The last step is to attain a union contract. Efforts in creating a workers’ union do not stop after attaining recognition. Acquiring a just contract is of equal importance. Once the union is formally certified, the employer would be legally required to bargain in good faith with the union. This would be to acquire a legally written, binding contract that covers all the aspects of employment. In collaboration with my co-workers, a negotiating team would be elected. This team would make decisions on the changes and improvements the workers’ have proposed on the employer. In finality, I would sign the agreement form and accept the conditions and measures put in place.
The most suitable time to execute this plan is during social and political mobilization of the workers to join unions (Ferriter, 2010). Pressure from the government for workers to join unions would enable my plan to succeed. The times when the governments only consider unions when tackling issues that involve employees, force workers to form and join their respective unions so as to benefit from the plan. Another appropriate time is at the time when employees have been oppressed by one issue or the other. At the peak of employee complains I would introduce the organizations plan. This would be a sign of relief to the workers as they would have high expectations. The benefits in forming a workers’ union would easily lure the workers to accept the plan.
Objections by employers have become a common difficulty in obtaining a workers’ union (Radforth & MacDowell, 2006). The employers have a tendency in refusing to accept their employees’ to form workers’ union. They claim that such unions weigh down their companies profits. They also feel that they will lose control over the running of their companies. This statement is a complete opposite of the impacts of forming a union. The company involved would stand to benefit from the plan. This can be achieved through various ways.
When worker unions are formed, the company falls at ease in the creation of proper payment plans. This is achieved since the unions make an effort to collect necessary data on the payment plans across the globe. They then compare these payment plans with the value of the respective currencies and the type of work that has been done. This process makes it easier for the company to come up with appropriate payment plans. Hence the employees are motivated by the wages they receive and in turn do their jobs to perfection.
Workers’ unions have taken upon themselves the responsibility of encouraging workers to toil hard. The unions conduct surveys to establish whether their workers have done their jobs to the expectations of the employer. This is because their policies allow them to campaign for better wages only in the cases where good work has been done. This has assisted the company’s management in following up the work done by employees. In the end, the company gets profits due to the exemplary work done by the employees.
The unions relay complains made by employees to the managers. They collect all queries experienced by the employees and organize them. This has assisted the employers in time management. In instances where there are no unionized employees, the company faces problems in time management. This is because employees take their complaints to their managers individually and in most cases, the problems are always the same or related. Therefore, companies have benefited from the workers’ unions.
Worker unions have grown globally. In certain cases, these unions conjoin with others in order to achieve certain goals. At national or global levels, the unions attend seminars to expand their ideas on working and improving their services. They also listen to success stories by other workers in the same field. In the case of the motor vehicle industry, experts enlighten their fellow counterparts on new innovations. It is through these seminars that employees get to better their work. At the end the company stands to benefit since the profits go higher with the new techniques.
of the examples stand to disqualify the misconception held by managers on
formation of staff unions. The unions not only benefit the staff but the
employers as well. Worker unions have increased all over the world. Almost all
companies unionized personnel. Unions have both negative and positive effects.
These effects are dependent on the management of the unions. The manner in
which they were created, the plans considered and steps followed are also
important n determining its effects.
Ferriter, D. (2010). The Transformation of Ireland. London: Profile.
Lacoma, T. (2013). Chron: Labour Unions and the Importance in Global Business Communication. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/labor-unions-importance-global-business-communications-18611.html
Office and Professional Employees International Union. (2013). Steps to create a Union Where You Work. Retrieved from http://www.opeiu.org/NeedAUnion/StepstoCreatingaUnionWorkplace.aspx
Radforth, I. & MacDowell, S. L. (2006). Canadian Working-class History. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press
Ward, S. (2013). How to write a vision statement: About.com. Retrieved from http://sbinfocanada.about.com/od/businessplanning/a/writevision.htm