Summarize the historical and legal framework which provides the foundations for the American system of labor/management relations
The American labor movement has a long history. The US population has had to unite on several occasions to achieve many gains that the current labor force enjoys across the country. The labor movements that have been witnessed throughout the history of the US have served to determine the current nature of labor relations in the country (Hooley, Jennings & Wolters, 2009). Initially, during the early times of the American republic, the efforts that tradesmen put to bring about better working conditions by declining to work and/or attempting to stop others from working under the same conditions were considered a criminal offense (National Right to Work, n.d).
Most laborers who advocated better terms were put on trial. The trend continued until the dawn of the 1840s when the highest court in Philadelphia rejected the criminal scheme belief that was used to charge persons who were advancing employee interests. This move was a significant change to the legal framework in dealing with workers’ issues.
In the 18th century, various labor movements pushed for the implementation of different items relating to labor. In the end, such movements had the effect of improving the workplace for millions of the American workforce. For instance, New York Workingmen’s Party that lasted for merely a year pushed for the reduction of daily working hours to about 10 hours. Another group, namely the order of the labor’s knights, worked towards increasing the negotiator powers of workers by enabling them to have a stronger say through the unionization of all workers in the country (National Right to Work, n.d). The group immensely contributed to the 1885 formation of the Alien Contract Labor law that allowed laborers who had a contract to work in the country. Some groups greatly resisted wage cuts, a trend that had caught up towards the end of the 18th century.
Further strings of legislation that brought about alterations to the law went on to determine the current legal framework in terms of guiding the activities of labor relations in the country. The National Industrial Recovery Act that was passed in 1933 was meant to promote joint negotiations for all mergers, come up with minimum wage standards, institute the highest possible operational time and in some cases prices, and eliminate child labor within the industry. The Wagner ruling that followed later in the mid-1930s replaced the NRA declaration, which was proved undemocratic by the highest judicial chambers.
Analyze the actions of unions and management to determine basic compliance with the major U.S. federal labor laws
In their efforts to establish basic compliance with the major federal labor laws in the US, unions, and management departments have taken a number of measures. One of them is finding out the relevant federal employment laws that specifically apply to their business or fields of employment. Published research shows that they are making good use of the online portal that is provided by the department of labor to determine laws that apply to them and ways in which they can comply (Schaubach, 2014). One is able to differentiate between state and federal laws due to the availability of clear distinctions and elaborations that have been availed to avoid confusion that may lead to non-compliance.
Management and unions are also using the employment guide to determine what constitutes basic compliance with the American Federal labor laws (Schaubach, 2014). The guide that is available at the department of labor offers a description of the main employment laws that influence their operations. The guide has proved useful for individuals who seek information regarding profits, salary, tolerance, security, and wellbeing strategies. Unions tend to explore some of the provisions in the labor laws that can help in protecting their employees during and after strikes to avoid unwarranted discrimination from their employers.
They try to ensure that they conduct all their activities within the requirements that are stipulated by these provisions. This plan helps them and their members to be on the safe side in case the employer goes to the law courts to challenge their actions in relation to certain events. Both unions and management are increasingly opting to hire lawyers on a long-term basis to monitor their activities to ensure that they are all done within the United States’ federal laws. They also offer expert advice on the kind of actions that the firm or union should engage in and/or advice against undertakings that may turn out to be detrimental.
Employers are keen on comprehending the dismissal protections provided for by the federal labor laws. Dismissing employees without observing the procedures in many instances turns out to be costly to the employer. As such, it is paramount for the employer to remain updated at all times on laws that touch the issue of dismissal. Unions are keen on possessing knowledge of the same subject to ensure that their actions are mindful of the effects of their actions on the employees. They tend to ensure that their interests are protected in case of unexpected outcomes (Schaubach, 2014).
Determine the roles and responsibilities of key participants in a right-to-work state when compared to a non-right-to-work state
Twenty-four states enjoy the right-to-work law that protects employees who work in those states. It is not a requirement for them to join a payor any amounts to a union except in some designated cases. Employees in such states can tender their resignation to a union any time without having to worry about any disciplinary action after resigning (Schaubach, 2014). However, in choosing to resign one from a union, participants have a responsibility of giving a notification to such an effect to both the employer and the union in writing that one intends to resign.
They have to revoke his or her authorization for the automatic due check-offs. With the right-to-work law, employers and union representatives are required not to compel their employees to adhere to the requirements of unions if they are not members. They have a duty to act in a way that is not intended to cause unnecessary harm to the employees.
On the other, in non-right-to-work states, it is a requirement for employees to have membership in workers’ unions (Schaubach, 2014). This situation strips them of the freedom to opt in and/or out union membership any time they wish. Union heads have the responsibility of ensuring that all workers have access to the relevant information regarding the union’s activities so that they can understand how membership to such unions can affect them at work. Employers also have a responsibility of providing for an environment that enables workers’ unions to conduct their affairs effectively. The reason why employers need to provide such an environment is to avert any serious actions on the part of employees who may have a negative impact on the workers, employers, and the economy.
Statistical findings indicate that states that have a non-right-to-work policy tend to experience lower growth compared to those that have the right-to-work policy. To ensure that stakeholders who operate in non-right-to-work states are not adversely affected by the activities of workers’ unions, it is paramount for them to take proper steps on their part. They need to put proper measures in place to ensure that such unions remain important to the economy to achieve great economic heights (Schaubach, 2014). With the level of competition that states that have the right-to-work law offer to those that have the non-right-to-work policy, it is important for all necessary measures to be taken to cover up any gaps that result from the difference in policy.
Explain the process for organizing and decertifying unions
Employees seeking representation by unions are best placed when it comes to the institution of mergers. The first step involves a pioneer worker talking to his or her fellow co-workers to find out whether they also share similar or common concerns in relation to the job that they do. They also take note of their employer’s view of the issues of concern to establish whether the employer is willing or unwilling to rectify or discuss the concerns. Where the employer is unwilling to discuss the identified issues, one should gauge the interest of co-workers in the exploration of the organization as a way of addressing the problems.
The second major step in organizing a union is the formation of the internal organizing committee. Membership of this committee should comprise workers who seek union representation. Additionally, workers should be educated on how the organization is done. They need to know what they can expect during a campaign for the union. A unit to do the bargaining is also identified. Workers are then requested to append their signatures to the authorization cards to serve as an indication that they support the formation of the union. These cards are utterly confidential so that the employer does not get to know those who participated in the signing.
If a sizeable majority of the workers sign the authorization cards, the next step is to file a petition with NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) requesting it to carry out a secret ballot election that will establish whether the majority of the employees are in favor of representation by the union while negotiating a contract. An alternative will be the employer’s voluntary recognition of the union. An election petition may then take place followed by bargaining. The internal organizing committee conducts the bargaining function to reach an agreement that is ratified through a secret vote. Following the ratification of the contract, all employees who the agreement covers are offered an opportunity to take up membership in the union to enjoy the rights and responsibilities enjoyed by other members.
On the other hand, decertification involves several steps. Firstly, one needs to establish a proper filing period. Following the expiry of a three-year period, workers can make, if they so wish, a decertification appeal. Secondly, they can then outline the decertification appeal after getting the required number of names from party workers. The NLRB will then carry out an opinion poll where a minimum of thirty percent of workers who form the negotiation body append their names to appeal for a decertification. As a result, employees will have the ability to deal directly with their employer on issues that may be affecting them.
Hooley, W., Jennings, K., & Wolters, R. (2009). Labor Relations Process. New York, NY: Cengage Learning.
National Right to Work. (2013). Employees in Right to Work States. Web.
Schaubach, J. (2014). Right to Work Laws: Get the Facts. Web.