Relevance of Unions
Yes. Unions are still relevant and are necessary in today’s work environment. Speaking from personal experience, I believe that unions create a stronger and more cultured company. I worked for the phone company for roughly ten years and was part of the union for half of that time. The other half, I was part of the management team and working with labor relations to resolve employees’ issues. It was a fantastic experience to sit on both sides of the table. As a union member, our rights were protected and our voice mattered. We were afforded the opportunity to have low cost benefits, higher salaries, safer working conditions, and the right to be treated equally and fairly. Since I have left the phone company and union, I have not found a job that could remotely come closing to comparing to the union job I left. I am surprised by the lack of knowledge and the overall ignorance from both employees and management in regards to the law, what is right and wrong, and individuals are fearful to voice their opinions with the thoughts of any sorts of retaliation occurring. Without a doubt, I do believe that unions are still relevant in today’s work environment.
Discuss alternatives to unions that would ensure ‘‘employee voice’’ in the workplace. Provide specific examples to support your response.
The book describes a couple different alternatives to unions that would ensure “employee voice” in the work place. The first one is paternalism. With paternalism, the employer provided fringe benefits to the employees. Once the employee took advantage of these benefits, it was thought that the employee would have more loyalty to the company and less favor towards the union. Although, I have not seen an employee representation plan since I have left the union I was part of in the current work environment, it may be closely related to an HR business partner role. The ERP is an appointed employee official that works as a mediator between both employee and employer. With the ERP, there would be a lesser need for a union. Although, these may be great alternatives to a union, I am still a firm believer that unions are necessary and paternalism and ERP’s should be enhancements to the union already in place.