Labor Relations - Unions Guide

Labor relations refer to a system that brings focuses on human resource management. It requires several stakeholders. These include workers, employees, and government. Workers will have representatives who are known as union officials. Together, they create relationships that help to elevate the workplace. In many industries, there are workers who are unionized. Unions initially catered for specific industries. These including mining, construction, manufacturing and transportation. As the workplace has evolved, the industries that have unions have also increased, with unions now being present in more service-based organizations. This means that they belong to a union that helps to enforce their employment rights. Labor unions are organizations that take responsibility for representing workers with the management of organizations. Their principal mandate is dealing with any disputes that may come up regarding working conditions, working hours as well as wages.

Labor Relations and Human Resources Management

Labor relations consulting is done primarily with the human resource department within a company. The result of the process is a relationship with the union and the management. It happens over three phases which are as follows: -
  1. Union organizing – This may happen in two ways. Either the employees get together and create a group to form a union, or they can choose to join a union that is already in existence.
  2. Negotiating a labor agreement – This is when collective bargaining takes place, and it includes negotiations to ensure that working conditions and compensation are acceptable for both the management and the labor unions.
  3. Administering the agreement – Once collective bargaining is complete, an agreement is a result and then the workers can refer to it. This is a continuous process based on any issues that may arise between the labor union officials and organization managers.

The Collective Bargaining Process

Working effectively with unions requires a human resource manager to have excellent labor relations. This is what results in a good agreement that enables work to move forward. In the process of collective bargaining, each side will have a key spokesperson to share the concerns from the stakeholders. Negotiations take place in detail, through meetings following which proposals are put in writing for consideration. There are often several proposals shared before the final agreement. This means that the process requires time. After both sides have reached an agreement, the final document is legally binding, and all stipulations are enforceable.

Changes in Labor Unions

Labor unions initially targeted public interests, though now they also include private interests as well. The amount of interaction with the government or state will vary from one state to another. In the past, they were based on purely national lines, with some countries having cooperative models for guidance. However, in the U.S., most of the labor unions are created as a solution to resolve conflicts between workers and management. Most unions push for all the employees within the organization to become members of the union. This way, it is possible for all of the workers to be represented fairly.