Current Labor Relation Techniques


The national labor laws began after the harsh economic times of the 1930s. The Great Depression led to a low employment rate. As a direct consequence, the general standards of living went down. The economic times were not favorable to individuals and companies. The National Labor Relations Act was then put in place in order to resuscitate the ailing economy (Wise, 1987). This bill was later adopted as law when President Franklin Roosevelt appended his signature. That was in 1935. This legislation introduced other strategies to uplift the economy. A case in point was the working hours which were stipulated to the maximum. At the same time, workers were to be paid minimum wages to cut down on operational costs. This law further incepted an agency that was mandated to review and investigate labor practices that were not fair.

This paper explores the profile of ABM Industries Inc. and how legislation has affected the company and union roles at the workplace. The collective bargaining laws passed in 1926 and how they affect the company’s operations are also discussed. Finally, the current labor relation techniques and the changing nature of work are discussed.

The profile of ABM Industries Inc


The American Building Maintenance Company incorporated (ABM Inc.) was incepted way back in 1902 when Morris started one of the earliest business undertakings called The Red Font. This business unit was dealing in both wholesale and retail products. It recorded good success in the first twelve months. The company later changed its name to ABM Inc. It has been in operation for more than one hundred years, serving hundreds of clients in the United States of America, some parts of South America and British Columbia.

The main services offered by ABM include the following: parking, landscaping, engineering, and janitorial among others. The company is administered by an executive team comprising of the president who is also the Chief Executive officer assisted by the Executive Vice President. Lower in the hierarchy is the senior Vice president and finally the Vice President who deals with the corporate communications in ABM. Under this team is the Board of Directors.

ABM Inc. boasts of a broad employment base ranging from cleaners to the executive team. It is therefore important if a harmonious labor relation exists between the company and its workers.

Definition and Overview

Labor relations can refer generally to any undertaking between employees and the employer about their working conditions (Millis & Brown, 1950). More precisely, a labor relation would involve the management board of a company or organization with its labor force that is already a unit or is capable of becoming one. Hence, this relation is imperative to organizations that run on a large scale basis and has a “unionized workforce” (Morris, 2004). Labor relations in the United States of America were immensely affected when the National Labor Relations Act was enacted into law after the Great Depression. Workers then had the right to form trade unions to fight for their terms and working conditions.

Developing Labor Contracts

There are four important parameters in labor agreements. These aspects are necessary whenever employments contracts are being initiated between the employer and the employee. The employer should be able to differentiate between high and low-performing workers. The first step is to match the employer and the employee (Vandenberghe, 1999). A stable human capital should be established. Other employment terms and risk undertakings like insurance cover to the employees as rewarding the employees in accordance with their level of effort to the company.

The National Labor Relations Act which was adopted in 1935 identified some unlawful labor practices. For instance, clause 8(a) (3) stated that “discriminating against employees to encourage or discourage acts support of a labor organization” (Morris, 2004). Another clause stated that employees who filed charges against their employers were not supposed to be discriminated (Morris, 2004). The above company is making use of these laws in making sure that its workers are not subjected to bad working conditions.

The changing concept of work and working relations has led to several amendments to the original labor relations laws. For example, employers are required by law to recognize labor unions without which they will have broken the law. Moreover, the United States Labor laws govern the organization of trade unions alongside controlling wages, salaries, fringe benefits, and better working conditions (Millis & Brown, 1950). Besides, a new concept of work to do with job security has emerged. Employers cannot just fire their workers at will without notice and a proper compensation plan. This has been enshrined in the federal laws under job security for employees.


Labor relations clearly define the homogeneous relationship between workers and employers. There is a need for workers to have a forum through which they can air their grievances on labor disputes. This is why the formation of trade unions became necessary with the advent of the souring relationship between these two parties. A case example of ABM Inc. Company in the United States with a broad workforce can allow its employees to be unionized.


Millis, AH; Brown, CE. (1950). From the Wagner act to Taft-Hartley; a study of national labor policy and labor relations, University of Chicago Press

Morris, J.C. (2004). The Blue Eagle at Work: Reclaiming Democratic Rights in the American Workplace. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press

Vandenberghe, A.S. (1999). Labor Contracts. Utrecht University press. Web.

Wise, D.A. (1987).Comment (on R. B. Freeman, ‘How Do Public Sector Wages and Employment Respond To Economic Conditions’)’, in Wise, D. (ed.), Public Sector Payrolls. Chicago, IL, University of Chicago Press