Many organizations today are concerned with establishing positive and effective labor relations. Maintaining positive labor relations will ensure employees will produce a quality product, resulting in increased revenue for the organization. Therefore, managers whom foster positive labor relations are well informed and interested in the issues which will benefit both the employee and the organization.
The origination of organized labor was designed to protect the employee from unfair often harmful business practices. Prior to this movement many employees were subjected to unsafe working conditions, long working hours, and limited time off. When employees spoke out about these working conditions the feeling was one of disregard by the management toward the employee. This air of disregard brought about the unions, in an effort to craft a solution acceptable to both parties.
Unions are "organizations formed for the purpose of representing the member's interests in dealing with employers" (Gerhart, Hollenbeck, Noe, & Wright, p.441).
These unions give the employees a method to form uniformity, and represent the interest of the employees collectively. Some unions are national and represent the employees for a given group within the entire nation, while others are industry based unions and may only represent members within a region. The national unions are further broken down into local units in charge of dealing with local issues unique to the area or environment.
A union's strength is determined by the membership of the union. Larger membership bases equilibrate to increased power. The increased power results in a higher influence upon the organization and the union members. This increased influence can effect positive changes in the work environment for both the employee and the organization.
"Labor relations, emphasize skills managers and union leaders can use to minimize costly forms of conflict (such as strikes) and seek win-win solutions to disagreements"...