What HR Needs to Know About Working with Labor Unions

By hrlineup | 27.01.2021

Most organizations work directly with their employees because it gives them the freedom to freely discuss payment terms, working hours, benefits, among others. However, when a labor union steps into the picture, hr support on union avoidance becomes futile. You may also find it challenging to perform specific tasks directly affecting the employees.

The federal law does not require employers to discriminate against workers in unions. So, it is up to the hr department to create employee relations, especially if the organization has unionized and ununionized employees.

What are employee relations

This is an effort that an hr manager needs to put in place to get along with the employees. Good relationship in the organization retains employees and increases productivity. Hr and unions’ relationship should be tremendous and communicate effectively. It would be best if you hold a joint training session for your workers. Employees will understand how the day to day operations are hence minimized grievances.

When working with unionized employees, you must come up with clear organization policies and regulations. These regulations should mainly focus on essential matters, such as negotiations and termination. Set what you expect of your employees and offer a platform to voice their views and feedback.

Pros of working with labor unions

  1. It gives the hr manager time to build a healthy relationship with the employee. If a unionized employee approaches you with a grievance, ensure you listen and try to solve them. Once you satisfy employees’ need, production will also increase
  2. Working with labor unions provides you with employee information on improving the workplace and well-being. You won’t have to keep guessing, especially for quiet employees.
  3. The reputation of your organization will improve as a society will see you as an honest employer. This will increase employee retention, and your organization will be a target for job seekers.

Disadvantages of working with labor unions

  1. It will be difficult for the hr department to make decisions affecting both the unionized employees and those who are not. An ununionized employee may be performing well, and you think they need a rise. You can’t do so because unionized employees might accuse you of discrimination.
  2. When it comes to terminating an employee who is not delivering, this might prove a challenge. Employees under the labor union will require a “cause for termination” letter that might take lengthy negotiations.
  3. With the union dues that are deducted from the employee’s paycheck, hr is struggling while processing payroll. This gives the hr an extra obligation of ensuring such rights are processed and delivered on time.

Employees have a right to join any labor union of their choice regardless of their employer’s views on the labor union. The employer must not try to prevent or delay employee & labor relations processes. You must also not discourage them from continuing to be in the trade unions.

Working with a labor union can beneficial and frustrating to the organization. HR managers need to satisfy employees’ needs to yield high productivity. In case of any arising issues, you must report to the trade union whose duty is to ensure employees fulfill their end of the bargain. Do not let a labor union control how you run your business. Know your rights and when to draw the line.