The Future Of Labor Relations In A Changing Economy
One would have to consider the meaning of labor relations in order to answer the following questions. How should labor relations in the United States progress in the future? And what changes do you believe are necessary for the U.S. to achieve your optimum labor relations vision? Labor relations is the relationship that employees and/or unions have with employees.
There are so many directions that labor relations could go and as time progresses one could be certain the relationships will continue to change as they have in the past. The one constant is that there will always be a relationship between the parties involved in the workplace whether there is a union present or not.
How should labor relations in the United States progress in the future?
As the world becomes more diverse it is important for the United States (US) to be open to embracing other cultures and practices in order to benefit from different labor relations that happen around the world. The United States can use these different techniques to gauge what might work for American workers and what will not. This is a tool that if open to, a lot of information can be learned from other labor industries and unions. I think that labor unions will continue to have a place both domestically and internationally because of the various industries and level of skilled workers that are in those industries. These industries like medical, transportation, production, first responder etc. have a need for unions to regulate above all, their working conditions. Labor unions particularly, will have a future in the United States as long as the mindset is open to the changes that are necessary and the industries feel they have a need for their services. Labor relations is an important aspect to the business world as both need each other to be successful. The future should not have the mentality of “us against them” on both sides and the laws that support this thinking need to change. The needs of the worker aren’t the same now as they were when unions were first formed. Therefore, I think the future of labor relations starts with changing laws and mindset.
What changes do you believe are necessary for the U.S. to achieve your optimum labor relations vision?
As mentioned above, the labor laws need to be examined and updated to meet the needs of the current worker. This is not going to be an easy task as it takes a lot of time, money and energy to get laws changed. However, chipping away at the important issues will be a start in the right direction. These laws do not only have to apply to unionized industry; there is a need for change in the private industry as well. According to (Budd, pg. 479-480), there is “four major directions to consider to revise, strengthening, deregulating, loosening, or transforming.” These four major areas refer to strengthening the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), deregulating the NLRA, loosening the NLRA and transforming the NLRA. I have to agree with the text that examining these four areas can make a real impact for optimum labor relations going forward.
These directions support becoming more diverse, open to moving forward to meet the needs of both sides of a labor relationship. In the essay regarding comparative labor relations I spoke of the similarities and differences between Germany and the United States; Germany has their employees participate in negotiations instead of it just being union representatives and management. This may be a practice the US could look into as it gives the employee’s a sense of voice and a part of the outcome of their future working conditions and agreements. In the current US labor market, unions don’t seem as powerful as they once did and I think that is because the voice of the employee has been lost. The unions still actively negotiate and create CBA’s, however, the fear of the employee’s reaction to unjust terms isn’t there as loudly as in early conception. I think that is why including the employee’s voice in negotiations will benefit the outcome for the labor force. This small change may make a big difference on the impact of labor relations in the US workforce.
There are many areas to examine in order to really make an optimal change for the better in labor relations that go beyond what was mentioned in this essay. The four major areas that were mentioned just scratch the surface. However, the changes have to start somewhere. It cannot be denied that times have changed since the formation of the Unions and the NLRA, therefore the foundation on which it was created does not exist in its original entirety so why hasn’t the laws that surround that same foundation been revised to meet the needs of today’s business world? These is an important issues and will undoubtedly not go unnoticed for years to come.
Budd, J. W. (2017). Labor Relations-Striking a Balance (5th ed.). Dubuque, Iowa: McGraw Hill Education; Chapter 12, page 479-480
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