Employees of an organization can request their boss to increase their pay following certain reasons best known to them. In the process, they will have a bargain and negotiate for a common pay that a is both of them; this type of negotiation is referred to as collective bargaining (Caisley, 6).
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However, collective bargaining is not only limited to matters about wages and salaries, but it also extends to w working hours, job conditions and many more other areas of concern.
A brief history of the private sector labor movement
Many years back, employees used to work without any organization that could check or address their concerns or grievances.
This acted as a leeway for employers’ to over-exploit their worker, i.e., by overburdening them with excess work while, on the other hand, pay incredibly little cash for their services (Skurzynski, 1).
Workers became furious about the situation thus leading to the emergence of labor movements; avenues workers could address their concerns and grievances.
Labor unions in the US started, long ago, during the colonial time e (Silver, 6). The foremost labor union was created approximately two-three centuries back and was later formalized with the name of National Labor Union.
Years later, different unions emerged following the increasing quest to protect employees’ interests. Knight of labor was the immediate union that followed NLU; however, the union later collapsed following the certain rebellions, which diverted the union’s attention.
Although this was not the end of labor unions; instead, the disruption was later used as a catalyst for the formation of a stronger and better union; thus American federation of unions was formed.
In the early ’90s, the union tremendously grew following its incredible associations with traders and extensive support by the government.
Later in the years, a union named as IWW was established by a group of inexpert persons, who aired their view through physical fights. The union later collapsed following the beginning of world war one (WW1), which gradually consumed its members as time passes by.
Lewis, a member of a certain committee within the American Federation Union (AFU), pressurized for the formation of industrial unionism. Three years after its formation, the committee separated itself from the AFU and began operating autonomously as CIO.
After several years of independent operation, the two unions amalgamated to form a single unit that was named as AFU-CIO (Bill and Fernando). Currently, many people, particularly persons from the private sector, are withdrawing from being members of these unions.
Good numbers of employees seem dispassionate about strikes and also do not want to be associated with anything that connects them with the union. However, in as much as many industries shy away from these labor unions, the commercial sector still maintains its 50 percent representation.
How the labor movement arrived at its current state
Labor movement underwent several transformations before finally reaching its current state. Since the formation of labor movements, there have been several disputes, cases, and laws that significantly changed these movements.
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In fact, until now there are still several disputes and laws that extensively influence the operations of these movements.
Within the last three decades, several concerns have been raised by employees from dissimilar industries. In the late ’80s, a group of Hollywood writers voted against a certain contract and promised to extend an ongoing strike that they had already started.
The voting indicated an overwhelming turnout of union members, which was followed by an unsurprising vote result, with over seventy percent members voting against the contract (Chicago Tribune).
This was a massive setback to the film industry since several film productions, and movie series were stagnated, and there was no indication that the situation could soon change.
There were no ongoing negotiations; workers insisted on the inclusion of their demands in the counteract before they even consider the negotiations.
Even after being threatened that, they will consider giving the contract to nonunion members; the worker still maintained their initial position of not negotiating.
The strike was one of the most dreadful strikes that Hollywood has ever been subjected to since everything was almost at a standstill. This indicates how the movement was firm about the position of their workers, despite the consequences implicated by their position.
This also indicated the degree of solidarity that the union had; they voted in numbers and also had one common mind of maintaining the same position, regardless of threats or effects of their action.
In the early ’90s, Los Angeles janitors raised a concern about their low remuneration s and thus demanded a pay rise. They aired their views via street demonstrations, with the help of labor unions who played a significant role in the bargaining process.
Their efforts were rewarded, since they were rewarded with, approximately, 12 percent pay increase. However, their effort did not end at that point; instead, they proceeded to request for additional pay, at around mid-’90s. The outcome was also positive.
Thus, they were rewarded with a 6% pay increase. This achievement indicated how effective these unions were when it comes to fighting for the needs and rights of workers.
This achievement developed a remarkable perception of the labor union, which led to the influx of new member with many more willing to join the union.
However, this incredible perception of the union has changed in recent years following the introduction of EFCA. Consequently, members are quitting the movement, due to indifferent positions over the controversial EFCA.
In the last half of this year, there have been several disputes between workers and employees, demanding either for a pay increase or favorable working conditions. For instance, it was just recently that construction worker demanded a salary increase and health cover via demonstrations.
As a result, numerous constructions within Chicago were left hanging, and there was no indication that work would soon resume to their duties. After several hours of intensive negotiations and bargaining, they managed to strike a pay increase deal.
The employees were given a 9.75% salary increase followed by numerous working benefits, for the whole contract period, i.e., three years (Chicago Tribune). Labor unions were the persons behind the deal, while the union employees being the beneficiaries.
This indicates how rewarding the unions are to its member, especially at times when they are most needed. On the other hand, employers seem to be disadvantaged, since they will have to incur extra costs when remunerating the workers.
In as much as these movements are characterized by several unpleasant reputations, such as achievements boost their trusts, which may eventually shift their recent societal perception.
The Employee Free Choice Act
The EFCA is a proposed law that will significantly alter the capacity of labor unions on workers. It is noted that several labor unions are mounting pressure on Congress to vote for the bill.
However, this position was opposed by numerous union members thus leading to the numerous membership resignations.
The bill is composed of three fundamental parts that are passionately opposed by the US chamber. The bill, also known as card check, proposes for the abolition of private ballot vote; government mediation and control and finally ruthless punishment for traders (James, Sherk).
According to the current laws, workforces are entitled to carry out their democratic rights by using private ballot boxes. On the other hand, card check forces employees to vote in public, which is the exact opposite of a private ballot.
According to card check, when the majority of an organization’s workforce attest the cards, then every worker will have no option, but to join the union. This, beyond any reasonable doubt, denies the workforces to exercise their voting rights.
Moreover, in case the bill passes, the union and employers will know the position of each worker on whether or not they want to be part of the union (Human Rights Watch). Consequently, this would expose them to unnecessary intimidations by the union and employers.
Also, employees may be forced to join the union either as a way of impressing their seniors or to avoid intimidations by their bosses, which is not a reflection of their position.
EFCA grants the government all the authority to manipulate business decisions.
In other words, the government could appoint a committee to decide on job terms and conditions, without the employees’ consent or votes.
In this bill, Workers and unions can be subjected to binding arbitration, in case collective bargaining proves fruitless, i.e., within the first three months of bargaining (James, Sherk).
Consequently, private organizations would be exposed to risky practices that may be unproductive in the long run.
In binding arbitration, the government officials’ take charge on some of the most crucial aspects of an organization, i.e., it controls employees’ salaries and terms of employment (Committee on Business and Corporate Liti, 1171).
This so unfortunate to organizations; since they will have to operate under terms created by persons with insignificant knowledge about the industry and the company itself.
Furthermore, it is unreasonable for organizations to be accountable for their actions and activities, yet the terms of operation were created by foreigners (government officials).
It is further noted that judgments or decisions made by arbitrators are final; persons who do not bear the repercussions of their decisions.
EFCA would also unjustly discipline businesses; whereas, on the other hand, the unions will escape unpunished in case of unethical practices.
Sources indicate that labor unions are among the leading organizations charged with numerous unethical behaviors, yet they are the persons advocating for businesses to be harshly punished. Small and medium enterprises would be the foremost victims of EFCA, due to their unfamiliarity of the union’s operations and acts.
The unkind punishment within the act can be summarized as follows: twenty thousand dollar charge for each deliberate violation committed by an employer; the act also increased the amount payable to discriminated workers. In as much as the bill is characterized by extensive negative effect, it also has some positive impacts on employees and employers.
Activists and other supporters argue that this bill is the best opportunity for the Americans to restore their financial system that will considerably benefit the average citizens. It is also noted that EFCA provides employees with a tremendous opportunity to form Unions, which will eventually help solve their numerous working problems.
For instance, Union employees will benefit monetarily from this bill, i.e., their pay will be thirty percent high than the nonunion employees. Additionally, unions minimize the margin between gender pay and also stretches its benefits to pension schemes and health insurances thus benefiting employees.
Analysis of the labor movement and the most recent version of the EFCA
Labor movements started long ago, as avenues for workers to address their concerns. However, as time goes by, these movements faced several experiences; some being beneficial, while others are disadvantageous.
In studying these labor movements, I noted that they massively benefited US employees in different capacities. Labor movements assisted employees to collectively bargain for their requests such as pay rise, improved working condition and so on.
As a result, many employees’ thirsts were quenched, i.e., their pays were increased while others realized a changed working condition. For instance, in the ’90s, janitors realized a pay increase following their demonstrations and support by labor movements.
Labor movements are extensively affected by new laws; for instance, the introduction of EFCA, which not only affects labor movements but also impact on companies and their workers (US chamber of commerce).
Introductions of such laws not only influence the number of union members but also discourage membership involvement especially when unions support a law that suppresses their fundamental rights.
Employers are the prime persons targeted by labor movements when addressing the concerns of employees. This is because most of the employees’ problems such as poor working conditions and low payments are only and best addressed by employers.
Such demands made by employees exert pressure on employers thus making them dislike labor movements, to the extent of intimidating workers who supports them.
Furthermore, these movements encourage employees to strike and demonstrate in case employers fail to consider their requests; approaches opposed by employers.
The intention of forming EFCA was to provide a worker with a suitable working environment. However, this was not the case, since the act was accompanied by numerous negative implications for workers.
The clauses in the act tend to lean on employers and government side; the person who do not need to air their grievances. The act is composed of clauses that are either advantageous or unfavorable to both employers and employees. Moreover, the effects of this act extend to both the small and large scale businesses (US chamber of commerce).
If the act is passed, employees will be denied the essential right of private voting. This is because voting will be done in public by the use of certain cards. Furthermore, workers will be forced to join these unions without even exercising their fundamental rights.
This bill can also be used by employers to intimidate workers since they will be able to know the position of their employers following public voting. There is a possibility of business operating under unfavorable terms, which are created by persons who are incompetent about the business’ industry.
This is due to the clause, which permits the government to appoint a committee that arbitrates on any organizational dispute. Additionally, this clause would unfairly punish businesses especially the small scale enterprises, due to their unawareness of the union laws and undertakings.
Although it looks disadvantageous to employers, some of its content can be of benefit to employers and the economy as a whole. This act will play a significant role in reviving the economy, i.e., providing a suitable environment for middle-income earners.
The act provides workers with health covers and also increases their likelihood of being part of the pension scheme. Apart from reducing the margin between gender pays, the act also encourages employees to form and join unions where they can air their grievances.
Consequently, they will be able to enjoy several membership privileges such as increased pay, health coverage and so on.
Labor movements formed as avenues for employees to air their grievances and concerns. These movements assisted workers to collectively bargain with employers, in matters concerning their pay increase and working conditions.
Several workers have benefited from these movements, i.e., by having their salaries increased and also realizing a favorable working condition. However, labor movements have taken a different direction following the introduction of EFCA, which immensely impacts on not only impact on employees but also on businesses.
Chicago tribune. Labor dispute. Chicago tribune. Web.
James, Sherk. Executive Summary: How the Employee Free Choice Act Takes Away Workers’ Rights. James Sherk and Paul Kersey. Web.
US chamber of commerce. The Employee Free Choice Act – the “Card Check” Bill. US chamber of commerce. Web.
Bill, Fletcher and Fernando, Gapasin. Solidarity divided: the crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice. California: University of California Press 2008 6.
Gloria Skurzynski. Sweat and blood: a history of U.S. labor unions. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books 2008 1.
Caisley, Thompson. Collective bargaining. CCH New Zealand Limited, 2007 6.
Silver, Beverly. Forces of labor: workers’ movement and globalization since 1870. New York: Cambridge University press 2003.
Committee on Business and Corporate Liti. Annual Review of Developments in Business and Corporate Litigation. 2007. Chicago: American Bar Association 2008 (2) 1171.