Modern Day Labor Relations
The system of U.S. labor relations is based on the traditional laws, which do not meet the current economic needs of workers and employers; this is because of the absence of negotiation and collective bargaining powers. However, through the passage of National Labor Relations Act many interventions have been made to ensure both the employer and employee needs are satisfied without causing conflicts and strikes that would result into loss of jobs and income to employees and loss of profits to employers. The current pressures that the labor relations system is facing come on the two sides, namely, corporate or management side and labor side.
Current Pressures on Corporate Side
U.S. labor relations has labor law that is supposed to protect both employers’ and employees’ unions so as to promote efficiency through avoiding strikes, equity by ensuring satisfaction and no exploitation and voice through contribution in decision making. Under management side, there are two major issues which include workplace flexibility and employment involvement. Workplace flexibility involves issues like working hours, working in shifts, and payment of leave days, which has posed many challenges to the management. Issue of contracts has inhibited the promotion of efficiency because the contracts are long and detailed and this has affected the flexibility and involvement at workplace.
Also, globalization has made the labor laws be outdated in this modern day because it never included employers and employees from and to other parts of the world, which has made management and labor face a lot of competition within and outside the country and there are many procedural requirement involved in employment.
The need for effective communication, which is derived on problem solving, is required; this can help in achieving efficient and productive negotiations that can promote efficiency, equity and good voice among employers and employees. The U.S. labor relations system is one which has low negotiation and collective bargaining power, which later contributes to poor communication that often result in various workers’ strikes, distrust and lack of cooperation towards achieving set goals.
Current Pressures on Labor Side
On the other side of labor relations, workers feel that they are not taken care of because they are not satisfied with their work in terms of treatment and general terms and conditions from their employers. On the current issues, workers face many challenges which need to be tackled to ensure efficiency, equity and good voice. These challenges include: declining union density, especially in the private sector, a huge representation gap between employers and employees, and difficulties in organizing new workers who may be permanent or seasonal, willing or unwillingly to join the union.
Recently unions have decreased greatly in terms of membership especially that of private sector which is currently at 10%. This is because there are many changes that have occurred, e.g., there is an increasing number of women working as compared to the past decades. Because of technology and globalization, there is an ever increasing knowledge and skills acquisition together with easy migration of individuals has negatively impacted the unions. Also, civilization has greatly reduced the number of traditional industries that existed and which were unionized; this leaves the modern day industries whose employees are not willing to be unionized.
Employees also view the existing labor laws as weak because they do not act on their favor; the penalties imposed on their employers are very small compared to the matter at hand. This has left a huge representational gap between employer and employees during negotiation and collective bargaining. They also feel that there is delayed justice because rules and regulations may not be followed accordingly. In case they strike, employers may decide to terminate their job because the existing labor laws are weak and do not allow strike.
The world is changing so does the labor relations system needs to change because of globalization that makes labor market competitive. This is done to accommodate the increasing demand for work and the ever changing technology. In so doing, the pressures experienced may be tackled so as to promote efficiency, equity and good democracy in the workplace.