Human resources and labor relations are critical factors in the operation of any organization. Managing organizations often means the difference between success and failure of an enterprise. Managing human resources in today's complex organizational, legal and economic environment requires professionals with special skills and knowledge in such areas as employee selection, training, appraisal and motivation, compensation and employee benefits, and employment law and policy. For those in a unionized workplace or who represent labor unions it is important to study collective bargaining, labor law and legislation, union organization and arbitration.
In the United States today, most workers act as individuals to select jobs that are acceptable to them and to negotiate pay, benefits, flexible hours, and other work conditions. There are times however, that workers believe that their needs and interests do not receive enough consideration from management. One response to this is to act collectively by forming and joining labor unions.
An organization formed for representing members' interests in dealing with employers is a union. ÃÂLabor relations is a management specialty emphasizing skills that managers and union leaders can use to minimize the costly forms of conflict and to seek win-win solutions to disagreementsÃÂ (Beatty & Samuelson, 2007).
After the great depression, unions were legalized in order to be the voice for the workers for whom they represented to their employers. Once this legalization became evident through federal statute, set the stage for what was to become the Fair Labor Standards Act. Having just survived a depression, the United States was hoping to avoid any future economic downturns, the government would accomplish this with paying higher wages that the employer could afford and employees could provide for their families. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is administered by the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division.