Collective bargaining entails a series of negotiations between employers and the representatives of workers with the major aim of arriving at an agreement to regulate, improve, or enhance the conditions of working. In the current labor market, Marczely (2008) is of the view that trade unions are charged with the role of ensuring workers are not subjected to inhuman conditions that degrade them.
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Through the process of collective bargaining, the writer notes that the two parties usually agree to set out a wage scale, working hours, the training needs, healthcare issues, overtime, conflict resolution, mechanisms, rights, freedoms, and safety of workers as they undertake their normal duties in their respective stations.
The author’s views are valid and credible in the sense that he captures the most important aspect of trade unions since they are expected to engage in talks with a single employer or group of employers representing various businesses. He further observes that the country’s laws usually determine the terms and conditions of negotiating, but the aim is always to reach at a consensus in order to prevent conflicts, as they have the potential of bringing down the performance of the organization.
In this regard, his ideas are reliable because the negotiated agreement serves as the labor contract between the employees and business owners. In many countries, workers in various sectors, including both public and private sectors, are supposed to present their grievances through the trade unions.
The United States is one of the countries that witnessed a complex collective bargaining process. Some analysts are of the view that the country has the best trade unions with the capacity to fight for the rights of workers appropriately. The paper looks at the developments of collective bargaining in the country with the aim of drawing a conclusion on whether the process has been successful.
In their view, Haber, Malin-Adams, and Khamalah (2008) observe that employees of any country are allowed to present their issues through unions. Again, they analyze the idea suggesting that the US constitution allows members of any trade union to force their employers to provide for them what they want. They trace the activities of unions to the National Labor Relations Act (1935), which talk about the relationship between the employed and the employers.
They further note that the bill was introduced specifically to address the issues of employees in the private sector who were often oppressed. In the 1935 law, the researchers note that the employer was prohibited from spying on the worker, discriminating them based on gender, race, and age, harassing them, and firing workers without giving sufficient reason and following the due process.
At the time, employers were concerned with the rate at which trade unions were being formed in the country forcing some to develop strategies to counter the trend. The ideas of the scholars are reliable because organizations formed trade unions that served their interests, something that the 1935 law attempted to address.
Unfortunately, the article tends to suggest that the law protected the employer as well because it was against antitrust in the sense that members would not fix high wages and salaries for their services. Again, they observed that it was illegal to force an individual to belong to a trade union or hire them based on the opinion on labor organizations.
Klein (2014) noted that workers were empowered further in the subsequent years because voting was made free and fair particularly to reflect the national presidential and local elections. In his analysis workers were influenced to vote for particular members, especially those believed to represent the interests of employers. The owners of the means of production understood that trade unions existed to empower and enlighten workers on wages, conditions of work, and benefits.
Electing radical leaders to high offices was considered disastrous since organizations would not have the power to determine salaries, which would have an effect on the profitability and financial performance of organizations. On the side of employers, the author noted that it was determined that the senior management was supposed to negotiate with worker’s representatives on behalf of stakeholders.
The ideas of the scholar present accurately the demands of workers at the time, as he noted that the main issues that affected workers were setting up of commensurate wages, establishing the required work hours, calculation of benefits, the conditions of employment, and the issue of inappropriate firing.
He also captured an important aspect on the development of collective bargaining claiming that individual negotiations have never been allowed since the organizational management is likely to cajole a single worker to accept a faulty decision, something that validates his study. The process of designing a contract between workers’ unions and managements of various companies is bureaucratic since a team sits down with the management before approving the new contract.
Each worker has the chance to participate in the process by voting to the already formulated policy. Once the policy or contract is approved through a simple majority vote, it is expected to serve its purpose for a specified period upon which reforms are undertaken to ensure it meets the current needs of both parties.
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Memoli and Semuels (2011) conducted a study concluding that, in at least twenty-eight states in the country, each employee is expected to contribute towards the trade union account since it facilitates of the effecting handling of issues. The researchers note that, even though no specified amount is set, many states suggest one or two percent of the salary. The expenditure of union dues has been a cause of disagreement in the country prompting the Supreme Court intervention.
In Ohio for instance, the scholars note that the judges ruled that the workers unions do not have the authority to utilize an individual’s dues without consent because leaders tend to misuse resources in facilitating political debates that do not bring benefits to workers. Before industrial revolution, the issue of collective bargaining was never coordinated since workers in each organization had to fight their way.
However, the enhancement of the industrial sector was a blessing to the trade unionists since it facilitated the formation of various labor organizations throughout the country. In the late 19th century, Kiely (2007) observed that the American Federation of Labor was created, which improved the bargaining power of many employees in the country.
In 1926, the scholar clarified that employees in the railway industry participated in the formulation of the Railway Labor Act forcing each employee to channel his or her grievances through the trade union, which was a turning point in the activities of workers aimed at improving their welfare. The court reaffirmed in 1931 that its previous decision prohibiting employers from interfering with the process of electing union officials, as this had a direct impact on the employee’s bargaining power.
In 1962, the administration in the US bowed down to pressure when the president, F. Kennedy, issued a directive order permitting workers in the civil service to form unions that would play a role as far as bargaining collectively was concerned.
Haber, L., Malin-Adams, N., & Khamalah, J. (2008). Labor negotiations, misconceptions, and repeated prisoner’s dilemma: a simulation. Journal of Collective Bargaining, 2(1), 329-341. doi: 10.2190/CN.32.4.f.
Kiely, T. C. (2007). Collective bargaining. Auckland, N.Z: CCH New Zealand.
Klein, G. (2014). College football players have right to form a union, NLRB rule. Los Angeles Times, p. 6.
Marczely, B. (2008). The contractual Diminishing of FMLA employee Rights. Journal of Collective Bargaining, 32(4), 279-286. doi: 10.2190/CN.32.4.b.
Memoli, M. A., & Semuels, A. (2011). Ohio votes to overturn new collective bargaining law. Los Angeles Times, p. 18.