Labor/Employee Relations

Essay by Fiesty001University, Bachelor'sA, June 2007

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Labor relations practices were developed over time to provide fair contractual employment between employer and employee. Organizational practices perceived to be unfair, unsafe or abusive were recognized and addressed with the formation of labor unions throughout many trade level industries such as steel, textile, railroad, education and numerous others. While unions still exist today, the percentage is quite low, with more employees today negotiating their own pay, benefits, and other conditions within the work environment (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhard, & Wright, 2004, 441). The following discussion evaluates labor relations impacts to organizations today, and the changes in employee relations strategies, policies and practices on organizational performance.

Organizational Labor RelationsNoe et. al (2004) describes labor relations as "emphasizing skills that managers and union leaders can use to foster effective labor-management cooperation, minimize costly forms of conflict (such as strikes), and seek win-win solutions to disagreements." (442, 1) The Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] (2006) describes labor relations roles today as "preparing information for management to use during collective bargaining agreement negotiations… interpreting and administering contracts with respect to grievances, wages and salaries, employee welfare, health care, pensions, union and management practices, and other contractual stipulations.

As union membership continues to decline in most industries, industrial relations personnel are working more often with employees who are not members of a labor union." (22)Unions and the National Labor Relations Act of 1935The establishment of the National Labor Relations Act [NLRA] in 1935 was a tremendous influence for legally enforcing employment rights for unionized employees and limiting employers unfair labor practices. Union officials negotiated for better benefits and higher wages for union employees who are sometimes compensated for the union dues members were required to pay. The NLRA boosted union growth to the point where union organizations made it a requirement to join a union...