Labor Relations Paper

Essay by amc8109University, Bachelor'sA, January 2008

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Unions are defined as organizations formed for the purpose of representing their members' interests in dealing with employer conflicts in such areas of wages, hours, and work conditions within a specific industry or trade. Unions were originally made up of male, blue-collar workers, but as the economy evolved from production to service industry, membership has seen a large increase in white-collar and female workers (Business Dictionary, 2007).

The evolution of unions began in the 1700s and 1800s where skilled workers were the first to organize and form unions due to the necessity for safety and security of workers. During this time, workers formed labor unions to improve their situation as a direct response to intolerable working conditions, low wages, and very long hours. Employees realized by banding together and bargaining as a group they were able to place pressure on employers to respond to their demands (Business Dictionary, 2007).

As the various degrees of conflict grew between employees and management, unions grew, thus making their role in collective bargaining within organizations more prominent.

This provided a way to manage conflict through systems for hearing complaints raised and negotiating labor contracts (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhert, Wright, 2003). Modern day labor unions in the U.S. are legally recognized representatives of workers in numerous industries, but are stronger among public sector employment. With unionization more widespread, knowing how to manage the relationships, rather interactions, between employee and management is a key factor; thus the development of the specialty of labor relations (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhert, Wright, 2003).

To minimize costly forms of conflicts, such as strikes, labor relations emphasized skills that fostered effective labor-management cooperation in seeking a win-win solution to disagreements (Noe, Hollenbeck, Gerhert, Wright, 2003).

The principal aim of all strikes is to achieve total suspension of work within an employer's establishment. The...