Industrial disputes can be solved through negotiations between employers andworkers’ unions. The prevalent demand that unions make is increased salary and benefits. Markedly, an organization can benefit from conceding to these demands. For instance, an increase in wages boosts employees’ morale, which, in turn, motivates them to produce more within a shorterperiod; besides, employees are inspired to complete their tasks without conflicts. As a result, managers meet their departmental objectives within the stipulated period. Workers and managers have the propensity to have high self-esteem and satisfaction when they achieve exceptional levels of production, which motivates them to remain committed to the company’s objectives.
Personnel with morale stay in a company for long. Reduced employee turnover provides an organization with an opportunity to hire the best talent. The reason is that acorporation with a reputation for ensuring employees’ satisfaction attracts many candidates. Moreover, the majority of unions have programs to train employees, who create a stable workforce and safe working condition, which ensures workers’ loyalty.
Good salary creates an atmosphere of shared vision and teamwork. Workers are motivated to collaborate and establish positive working rapport. This practice has a long-term benefit toafirm,as workers are more engaged and willing to work together to achieve the organization’s goals. Likewise, engagement reduces absenteeism and rate of missed production; hence, the company will maximize its profits (Grossman, 1983). In addition, accepting a union’s contract enables employers to predict and control costs. Unions eliminate the need for an employer to negotiate job description and wages with every employee. For this reason, a company can plan for expansion, and be in a position to develop product-pricing strategies.
On the downside, conceding to union’s demands has an associated cost. Increased wages reduces an organization’s revenues, which, in turn, can affect the company’s ability to grow (McClendon, 2006). Technically, employees who have worked for an organization for a long time should not receive the same salary with newer colleagues. However, if a corporation agrees on equity in wages, senior employees will receive the same salary with new workers. In such a case, experienced workers can feel less motivated, leading to reduced production.
A tradeoff in which an employer accepts to fulfill the union’s demand is not beneficial to an organization. To meet the requisite wage demand, an organization might be forced to increase the prices of its products, which, in worst cases; can lead to the closure of some units as sales decline. In addition, agreeing to the union’s demands reduces human resource control. The reason is that unions require organizations to promote employees based on seniority, rather than productivity or merits. Therefore, in case an organization needs to downsize or fire employees, it cannot dismiss those who are not less productive; instead, it can only lay off the recently hired workers.
Innovative initiatives, such as flex-time scheduling, Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), and telecommuting has influenced the nature of union-employer bargaining in several ways. Telecommuting and flex-time appeal to the younger, more technically savvy generation of workers (Clarke, 2012). The former provides millennials with a remote work option, while the latter allows for a flexible work schedule. Millennials want a versatile and flexible work environment so that they can have a work/life balance. Majority of them have to take care of ailing baby boomer parents, while at the same time raise their children. Flex-time scheduling and remote working privileges allow the millennials to maintain their personal lives without sacrificing their career.
Flex-time scheduling and telecommuting have made union-employer bargaining easy. By honoring the requirements of the two-workplace initiatives, firms have made it easy for unions to arrive at an agreement without conflicts. Study shows that organizations that have adopted flexible work benefits have experienced improved employee satisfaction and increased productivity. Notably, workers tend to be stressed if their life’s demands are not met. Stress reduces people’s performance; however, with flexible schedules, employees become more relaxed and develop positive attitudes towards their work. However, to some extent, flex-time and telecommuting have also made unions be irrelevant. In the past, unions were mandated to fight to increased salary and benefits standards. Nonetheless, nowadays, workers prefer more flexible schedules. Therefore, since unions are focused solely on negotiating for pay and health benefits, then they are less likely to gain access to work-life flexibility practices.
Results Only Work Environment is an initiative that the majority of organizations have adopted to encourage employee engagement. In this model, employees are paid depending on their output, rather than hours worked (Card, 1983). ROWE is different from the traditional work environment where workers do not have the enthusiasm to strive for greatness. The managerial strategy transfers the responsibility of working to the employees. Workers become passionate to contribute to the greater good. Focusing on the employees’ output empowers their ability to complete their tasks, meaning that they can work without supervision.
ROWE builds trust between the employees and the employer. Workplace environments do not require union-employer bargaining when there is a certain level of mutual respect and understanding. Through ROWE strategies, companies can establish the trust that workers need to have job satisfaction, which, in turn, results in less turnover, higher productivity levels, and reduced absenteeism. Therefore, Results Only Work Environment initiative reduce the need of union-employer bargaining. Noteworthy, in addition to flexible scheduling, unions should support work-life flexibility requirements in their contracts so that they can continue to be effective in the workplace environment.
Card, D. (1983). Cost-of-living escalators in major union contracts. ILR Review, 37(1), 34-48.
Clarke, S. (2012, Feb 17).Rosen hotels debuts new employee medical center (The Orlando sentinel, Fla).Insurancenewsnet. Retrieved from https://insurancenewsnet.com/oarticle/Rosen-Hotels-debuts-new-employee-medical-center-%5BThe-Orlando-Sentinel-Fla%5D-a-330613#.XW-uIigzbIV
Grossman, G. M. (1983). Union wages, temporary layoffs, and seniority. American Economic Review, 73(3), 277.
McClendon, J. (2006). The consequences and challenges of union decline. Human Resource Management Ethics, 261.