An employers’ organization is an  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interest_group” o “Interest group” interest group or  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocacy_group” o “Advocacy group” advocacy group that tries to influence government policies through lobbying. A union is an association of workers established to improve economic and social conditions.  In a non-union workplace:

 Employer makes all rules, sets the wage rates and makes all decisions on things like discipline, promotions and hours of work. The worker has no voice.

In a Union workplace:

The Union bargains with the employer for a contract, makes sure the contract is carried out. Your Collective Agreement is a contract. Contracts are legal documents between you and your employer that spell out wages, benefits, and rules of employment.

The role and position of the organization for employers will differ from one country to another, primarily based on the  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_system” o “Economic system” economic system.

The union’s basic job is to bargain with employers to determine best wages and working conditions for its members. Most unions provide employment services, insurance, and other benefits.

Countries with  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_economy” o “Anglo-Saxon economy” anglo-saxon or pluralist economic systems ( HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_United_Kingdom” o “Economy of the United Kingdom” United Kingdom and the  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_the_United_States” o “Economy of the United States” United States), where they have no institutionalized relationships between employers’ organizations, trade unions and the government. Organizations tend to be weak, with many of their functions taken over by  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industry_trade_group” o “Industry trade group” industry trade groups, which are in most instances  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_relations” o “Public relations” public relations organizations.

Countries with HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_market_economy” o “Social market economy” social market economies have the organizations being part of a system of institutionalized deliberation in conjunction with government and the trade unions. In tri-partite bargaining, HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_partners” o “Social partners” social partners strike agreements on issues like  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_level” o “Price level” price levels, wage increments,  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_rate” o “Tax rate” tax rates and  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pension” o “Pension” pension entitlements.

A union organizer refers to a specific type of  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_union” o “Trade union” trade union member (normally elected) or an appointed union official. A majority of unions appoint rather than elect their organizers.

During organizing campaigns, management’s role is to recruit groups of workers under the  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organizing_model” o “Organizing model” organizing model. Organizer’s role is largely that of servicing members and enforcing work rules. They may equally take on industrial/legal roles like making representations before tribunals or  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Court” o “Court” courts.

The differences between unionized and union-free environments include:

Complicated communication routes – Communication is one of HR Solutions’ Power Dimensions. Good communication between management and employees is important and aids in building Employee Engagement and contention. Introduction of a union however complicates usual communication routes given particular messages must go through the union to get to and from employees. This acts as a filter and delays, clouds, or gets rid messages that could lead to confusion and frustration among employees.

Focus on union – Union formation will lead to immediate focus on contract negotiations, pay, organization’s benefits and workplace policies. Much as the elements are important, they are not the key drivers of Employee Engagement or Overall Job Satisfaction. Unions would have to focus on issues like Recognition, Career Development, Relationship Supervisor has with Employees (see Us-Vs.-Them Mentality discussed below), and the organization’s Strategy and Mission in a bid to raise satisfaction levels.

Negotiated Pay Increases – Compensation is regulated by contract in unionized environments. They allow employees receive fair wages. However, they remove connection between merit and compensation leading to sharp decrease in Engagement levels. When a union is present, employees must hand over a portion of their paycheck each month as HYPERLINK “http://www.hrsolutionsinc.com/enews_0311/Unionized_0311.html” o “Click to Continue > by InstantSavings” member contributions. Dues could lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, especially when employees do not see results expected from unionization.

Union control – In unionized environments, unions determine to a greater extent the organization’s working conditions. Unions have to approve the purchase of equipment or any work before its completion thereby causing interference and entire process delay.

Us-Vs.-Them Mentality – Presence of a union leads to heightened tension between groups of employees and between employees and management due to the us-vs.-them mentality. Employees belonging to different departments can feel the divide when they believe their departments’ needs are not being treated with the same care as other departments’ needs. Union’s may also make employees feel even further separated from management making management seem like the “enemy,” as a result of a lack of trust in management thereby lowering engagement and satisfaction.

Unionized organizations do not have satisfied or engaged employees, they should make sure their employees do not feel the need to organize

Unionization should just be used as a final attempt by organizations with extremely low Employee Engagement, satisfaction and morale. Option is for them to minimize possibility that employees will want to unionize. Smart organizations that want to remain non-union listen to their employees through formal and confidential surveying, making their union vulnerability risk non-existent. Through staying ahead and caring about employees, organizations can minimize their risk of unionization.

Management representatives employ various methods to secure recognition with the ultimate goal being a  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_bargaining_agreement” o “Collective bargaining agreement” collective bargaining agreement. The methods can be classified as being either top-down organizing or bottom-up organizing.

Top-down organizing focuses on persuading  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Management” o “Management” management  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_organizer” o “Click to Continue > by InstantSavings” through salesmanship or pressure tactics. Management will be allowed to talk on any issues it will have addressed for the unionized workers. Say for instance, if there’s a decision that there be a pay rise, management must come forward as part of confirmation on what will have been agreed with the union.

Here are some laws or regulations that relate to labor unions:

Employees Democratically Choose to Organize Into UnionsA Union Must Represent Its Members and Non-Members Equally and Without Preference or Discrimination in Dealing With Their Employer.

Non-Members May Choose to Pay Only For a Union’s Actual Bargaining and Workplace Representation, Not Political Activity, Lobbying and Other Programs


HYPERLINK “http://www.hrsolutionsinc.com/enews_0311/Unionized_0311.html” http://www.hrsolutionsinc.com/enews_0311/Unionized_0311.html

Hall-Jones, P., 2010. Unionism and Economic Performance. Internet article & statistics. 

Kelber, Harry. My 70 Years in the Labor Movement. New York: Labor Educator, 2006.

Pleasure, Robert J. and Cohen, David. Construction Organizing: An Organizing and Contract Enforcement Guide. Silver Spring, Mary: Labor’s Heritage Press, 1997.

Poole, M., 1986. Industrial Relations: Origins and Patterns of National Diversity. London UK: Routledge.