Union and Employer Organization Structure. Organizations tend to be structured in ways that reflect their Purpose, Goals, Philosophy, and Mission. They must also be responsive to the dynamics of their environment and the vicissitudes of the market place.
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Organizations tend to be structured in ways that reflect their Purpose, Goals, Philosophy, and Mission.
They must also be responsive to the dynamics of their environment and the vicissitudes of the market place.
Unions and businesses face similar challenges but separate perspectives.
While management must stay focused on the competitive challenges of the marketplace it is the unions role to represent the interests of their members.
Represent a group of workers who have as a common bond the same set o skills, the same occupation.
Plumbers - Carpenters - Electricians
Represent workers with a variety of different skills who tend to be located in the same industry of industrial site.
Primarily confined today to site specific unions
Amalgamated Craft Unions
Union combining several related crafts.
International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers - ACTWU - ILGWU
Unions combining several related industries.
OCAW - UAW - URW - IBT - USA
Pure craft and pure industrial unions are rare in the United States.
Rather than following any rigid patterns, unions tend to organize in whatever direction or area that seems most likely to bring them members.
Nearly all union structure in the U.S. is built on the basic local unit.
Normally confined to a geographic area small enough for all members to attend a single meeting.
Geography - Population - Industry
A formally constituted Democratic Organization with ultimate power vested in it members.
Operated under a set of by-laws that define the number, terms, duties, election, and salary (if any) of local officers.
Sets procedural matters, such as calling and terminating strikes, ratifying contracts, selecting convention delegates, frequency of meetings, auditing, dues, fees and other details.
Many locals elect or appoint Business Agents to do the detailed work.
The President, Vice-president, and Secretary-Treasurer perform the duties normal to those offices and are elected by the members.
Some local officials may serve as contract negotiators but this task is usually assigned to staff representatives from the national union or its appropriate district.
Normally elected and are responsible for consulting with employees who have or think they have a grievance against the employer.
The national or international union is the locus of power in the labor movement.
Locals are bound to the national and operate under its constitution.
The local union pays dues to the national for each local member
The national may be affiliated with the AFL/CIO but retains sovereignty over its operations.
Legislative power in national unions is vested in the convention and Landrum-Griffin requires that conventions be held at least every five years and most unions hold them more often.
National officers are usually elected by the convention or by referendum.
(President, VP’s, Secretary-Treasurer)
They serve on a full-time basis with hired staff.
Every national or international labor organization shall elect its officers not less often than once every five years.
Local organizations not less often than once every three years.
Officers of intermediate bodies (general committees, system boards, joint boards, orjoint councils), not less often than once every four years.
The totality of the national or international office, state or regional offices, if any, plus all the locals.
Industries operating on a national scale usually look to the national officers for most of the important negotiation.
Negotiations in building trades, transit companies, bakeries, and laundries are normally conducted at the local level by the local union.
Creation of new local unions is the principle purpose of organizing activities, which are relatively expensive.
Workers in some industrial nations take unionization for granted and do not wait to be recruited, American workers usually do not form a union until they feel an explicit need for one.
Any national union accepting the principles and objectives of the federation can apply for and presumably obtain membership.
A local may affiliate directly with the federation if there is no national union in its field. This is know as a federal union.
The AFL-CIO is not a union. Its function is to bring about organized cooperation of the constituent unions on behalf of labor as a whole.
The federation receives income from a per capita tax on the affiliated unions.
The officers consist of a president, executive vice president, secretary-treasurer, and 51 vice presidents.
Jointly they constitute the Executive Council
The General Board consist of the Executive Council and the principle officers of each affiliated union.
The major functions of the federation include:
Legislation, civil rights, political education, international affairs, social security, economic policy, community services, housing, research, public relations, safety and occupational health, and organization and field services.
The federation also has subdivisions called departments which coordinate groups of unions having related problems.
Building Trades - Food Trades - Metal Trades
Industrial Unions - Maritime Trades
Transportation Trades - Professional Employees
Public Employees - Union Label
Three areas in which the Federation has sought increased influence are:
Jurisdictional Disputes - Civil Rights
Corruption and Communism
The sole disciplinary power of the Federation is limited to suspension or expulsion.
A fair number of local unions have never affiliated with either a national union or a federation. These unions are usually confined to a single establishment, employer, or locality.
Democracy in its ideal state involves the active participation of all its members.
Unions,not unlike other democratic institutions, tend to operate with a high degree of indifference and complacency among its members.
Employees are essentially concerned with the state of affairs of their work environment.
Rules - Regulations - Working Conditions
If the union and management create a good plant environment the members tend to care little about how the union is run.
Businessmen tend to be critical of unions who lack democratic practices
While on the other hand
These same businessmen tend to complain that unions with strong democratic orientations are obstacles to effective labor management relations.
Effective union leaders are relatively scarce.
This is one reason the union leader is normally returned election after election. (most especially at the national level)
Turnover at the local level is often quite high.
Although there is wide disagreement as to whether any particular employer needs such a thing as a union, no one - not even the union - seriously questions the need for management.
The Private Profit Economy
Over time, the management of a firm must ensure that its income equals or exceeds it expenditures.
In the United States both sides in a collective bargaining operate under a limited contractual relationship.
The employer usually does not assume responsibility for the economic welfare of the employee or the employee’s family beyond payment of the contracted wage and related fringe benefits for as long as the employee continues to perform satisfactorily and is needed by the employer.
On the other hand, the employee has no responsibility for the economic welfare of the employer beyond the satisfactory performance of specified tasks.
Overall, neither the laws nor the customs of our country obligate an employer to retain unneeded employees.
An employer has a particular labor structure, which is defined by the numbers and ratios of different types of employees.
Labor and Capital intense industries
Simple and Complex job structures
Simple and Complex pay systems
The employer with only a few types of labor has a simple wage structure, making it easy to compare wages with competing employers.
The large firm with a variety of workers may find it more important to maintain proper differentials among the jobs within its own organization than pay the same as other employers.
Both strategically and practically, employers in mass production industries generally find it preferable to deal with a single union(of the industrial type) for all employees rather than with a separate union for each group.
Beyond the single employer and the conventional work environment there is a substantial mix of complex circumstances and varied conditions of employment that demand unconventional bargaining solutions.
Despite objections to some specific actions of the union, an employer in a highly competitive labor-intense industry will often recognize that a strong union covering all of his competitors may benefit him as well as his employees.
Where industries consist of many comparatively small employers, it is common for them to form an employer association and engage in multi-employer bargaining.
The firm is a complex arrangement of people, machines, materials, and money.
Management, at least in the larger firms, has access to a large body of expertise about the effective use of its human resource assets.
The problem is that while management seeks expand it freedom to act with respect to human resource utilization…..
The union does not always agree and intervenes by exercising its right to question management’s motives.
Some researchers view managerial structure with respect to industrial relations as having three tiers:
Strategic - Functional - Shop Floor
Where most fundamental business decision are made, such as what business to be in, where organizational expansion and contraction should take place, and what corporate values are.
Where collective bargaining takes place.
Shop Floor Level
Where the day-to-day interaction between the workers and their supervisors actually take place. Much of the implementation of the agreement takes place at this level.
The attitude of each of these three levels of management toward unions need not be and indeed frequently is not the same.
The Small Individual Enterprise
To many such employers the idea that the employees should form a union to bargain, or even strike, and ask to participate in the making of decisions about which he or she knows so much more that they can ever know is utterly shattering.
The Large Corporation
The outlook and philosophy in its relations to unions is different.
Since the corporate officers are themselves employees, they have an important psychological bond with the rank and file.
The Large Corporation
They see the union as just one more pressure to which they must adapt and in the process create a new entity to deal with it …… creating in its wake an internal force with a vested interest in the continuance of the union.
The Intermediate Types
Some managements view unions as a challenge and an interference.
Others see unionization as a reasonable expression of workers’ desire for representation and take the union in stride.
Conglomerates, Mergers, Multinationals , and the current passion for Restructuring has presented a new set of problems to the collective bargaining process.