A labor union is an organization of employees of the same profession, working for either one employer or many employers. It is formed by people with common skills, knowledge and skills pursuing the same dream, to be at the top of their carriers. Labor unions are normally funded by contributions from employee’s salaries. They are headed by officials who are elected by members after a given period of time. For labor unions to be effective they need to be run by people with the right management education, skills, knowledge and experience for them to deliver to their respective members.
Labor union officials are accountable to its members and need to be responsible enough, for every action they take, has consequences on all the members. Labor unions are formed and run as per the constitution, according to the Labor act of any nation and the related articles. Labor unions have a societal value in the present day, because members expect some return that is either qualitative or quantitative. Although employers may be opposed to the idea of labor unions, the Government gives the right atmosphere for their formation and existence.
Labor unions that are not beneficial to the members do not last long, because they are democratic institutions and members have a right to quit and join new unions. (Albert, 2001 p. 20-31) Organized institutions: Labor unions provide a forum for dealing with multiple issues at once and as group. Actions taken by labor unions are across the board; they relate to all the employees and their respective employers. Issues tackled do not relate to individuals but to the whole group of members. Members of the same profession get to meet and reason together, in order to better their living standards and their economic well being.
Solutions to issues facing the employees are to the advantage of all the member. Labor unions need to be registered as per the required regulations, prescribed under the Labor union’s Act of any Country. They are therefore recognized and protected by law. They are therefore expected to deliver as per the necessary standards, without bias to either the employees or the employers. Issues presented by individual members are discussed by the officials and if need be, they are communicated to the rest of the members, in order to understand who the union is acting for, at any particular time.
Protection of Employee’s rights: Labor unions are formed on the principle, “united we stand, divided we fall”. Any skilled, semiskilled and unskilled employee has rights and privileges at his place of work, which the employer may not be willing and ready to fulfill. It’s the duty of the labor union to negotiate for its members, with the employers for their rights to be realized. Single employees may not have a better understanding of their rights and may be oppressed by the employer. In groups/labor unions they will have the power to speak as one and demand the employer’s attention.
(Becky 2002 p. 11-32) Some employee’s rights include; Better working, conditions and environment; This mostly applies to semiskilled and unskilled workers who are found at industrial plants. Most employers may find it expensive to provide them with the right working gear and devices like, gloves, masks and gum boots. Such employees will therefore be risking their lives at the expense of their incomes and need someone to come in between. Such employees may not be housed at the plant and will be expected to report to work early in the morning.
The labor union will come in and negotiate for their transport system; whereby they are either picked by bus early in the morning or they are given an adequate transport allowance to enable them be punctual at work. The single employees who demand better working conditions and environment may risk their jobs because the management may consider them to be unruly. Some manufacturing companies, like tobacco industries, pollute the environment which the employees are working in. they may therefore be exposed to contracting diseases, hence poor health.
It is the duty of the labor unions to negotiate healthy environment to ensure that employees utilize their skills well and advance in their carriers. A well balanced remuneration package; Employees need a salary package relatively proportional to their contribution towards the company’s profitability. Some employers may want to retain a lot of their earnings and therefore deny their laborers/employees good compensation. For a worker to be productive his or her financial and economic needs should be well catered for, by the employer. A stressed up employee may not utilize his education and knowledge adequately to develop his carrier.
Some employers may want to pay their employees less than the other professionals with the same education, knowledge and skills. This is psychologically unfair and the labor union steps in to ensure a uniform salary package across the board for people with the same skills and knowledge. If the employer does not obey, the labor union can sue on behalf of the employee with costs being met by the employer, as per the relevant regulation and case ruling. Employee Motivation; For employees to perform better, they need their spirits lifted through a well organized motivation system.
These lack in some organizations and it is the duty of labor unions to negotiate for the members items like, overtime payments, study leaves and bonus payments. It is through such motivation systems that employees can utilize their skills, education and knowledge in order to have some carrier growth and development. Labor unions therefore assist their members in meeting their short-term goals and keep them focused at their long-term goals. Better working conditions at the present make it possible for employees to realize ambitions and dreams. (Norman 2000 p.
4-54) Retirement benefits; Labor unions ensure that every employer has retirement arrangements in place for its employees. Employees should not retire with any funds to survive on because this may depress them at their old age. Retirement age is therefore maintained across all companies and those who their contracts are terminated in advance are given some golden handshake to survive on. Labor unions also deal with cases where contracts are terminated before maturity and those affected are restored and any damages are catered for by the employer.
The labor unions therefore ensure that the society’s dependency ratio is not increased due to early terminations or people retiring with out finances. Professional Networking: Through labor unions professionals get to meet and share ideas relating to their carrier field. People with the same knowledge, skills, education and experience get to network and assist one another emotionally and this boosts their morale. Meetings organized by labor unions for its members provide a forum for discussions to be held among members. Motivational speakers are also invited to give speech which inspires the members.
Carrier growth and development: Labor unions ensure that members are constantly being updated on the latest skills and knowledge during union meetings. Discussions held also advance the awareness of their professional field details. Members also get to know the requirements for their movement up the carrier ladder. Study leaves negotiated for by the labor unions provide carrier development. Some employers may want to maintain employees as casual, which is not as per the law; labor unions therefore come to negotiate for their permanent employment. This enables both carrier growth and development. Go slows:
When employers do not want to give in to requests by the employees, laborers may present this to their unions and they may result in mass action. Demonstrations/go slows organized by labor unions are recognized by the laws and no one of the employees is victimized. workers’ plights are therefore considered by their employers and their demands are negotiated for by both the employer and the union officials. Creation of jobs: Labor unions are run by officials, elected by the members based on their education, knowledge and experience, to manage the union. These officials are well remunerated, from the contributions by the members.
They therefore earn a living out their efforts to manage the unions. In the society, dependency ratio is therefore reduced while idleness by the unemployed and crime levels go down. These officials are replaced from time to time and the jobs are given to new people. Mediator between the government and the employees: Labor unions negotiate with the Government for labor standards to be maintained for the sake of the employees. The government is therefore kept on check by the union to ensure that there are statutory regulations on the, minimum wage, working conditions/environment and unfair dismissals.
Labor unions also provide some level of awareness to the professionals in terms of, what they should expect from the employer and what their level of productivity to their employers should be, in order to experience carrier growth and development. (Timothy, Roni, 2003 p. 23-34) References: Albert S. (2001). Labor unions. New York. Cristol Publishers. Becky T. (2002). Societal Value of Labor Unions. New Jersey. Western Press. Norman C. (2000). Enforcement of Labor unions. Los Angelus. Southern Publishers. Timothy S, Roni B. (2003). Labor Unions in united States. Boston. Cribal Publishers.