Beginning or End of Unions
A trade union is a group or an organization of workers who come together
for their common goal of solidarity. Trade unions are also formed by
workers to oppose any form of exploitation, by their employers at the
place of work. Workers also demand for better pays through their
grievances to the trade unions. Trade unions also fight for better work
conditions for workers in their line of operation. It is the work of a
trade union to bargain with employers for the workers and also negotiate
all the work contracts. The safety of workers at work place is also
advocated by trade unions in their grievances to the employer`s. Trade
unions are facing many challenges in their operations, in the modern
society. Leaders of these unions face very challenging moments both from
the organization itself and also from outside the organization. There is
also the problem with membership compositions and structures of
management. Political influences also affect the running of these unions
especially when they are negative political influence. The brief write
up seeks to explain the roles of trade unions and the challenges that
face these unions in the 21st century.
Trade unions are facing many challenges in their operations, in the
modern society. Leaders of these unions face very challenging moments
both from the organization itself and also from outside the organization
(Mauer, 2001). There is also the problem with membership compositions
and structures of management. Political influences also affect the
running of these unions especially when they are negative political
influence. Corporate social responsibility is one highly researched on
in the recent years. The topic is a current loom in business arenas as
scholars and managers seek to improve the way corporations do business
(Holley, 2012). In its simplicity, corporate social responsibility
refers to a school of thought of management where corporations are
persuaded to engage in their business affairs in a responsible manner
(Lewin, 2012). It is a call for organizations to participate in making
their environmental constituents happy. This requires that corporations
participate in a legal and a socially responsible manner. Therefore, an
organization should estimate the market expectation and respond
Trade unions have the role of social cohesion between the workers and
employers. In the exercise of this cohesion workers are guaranteed of
flow of income at the same time their rights are addressed. The working
environment conditions are improved, and there is peace and social
justice (Lewin, 2012). Workers’ freedom and dignity are upheld through
the application of improved working practices. Another key area of
address by trade union is social security of workers. Members of a trade
union are guaranteed of social benefits once they retire from work.
Democratic peace structure existing in democratic societies is a trait
attributed to the growth of this theorem. Russet, for instance, asserts
these democratic peace structures as the key of powers in a government
system. This division is the control parameter for the existences of
balances in the government system (Mauer, 2001). Another scholar, John
M. Owen, actualizes that the structures exist for the betterment of
individuals, and also in harmonizing the ruling system. All these are
aimed at ensuring freedom for all individuals so as to make them feel
incorporated in the system of governance.
The running trade unions are affected by business ethics. Code of ethics
refers to all the values that govern the working of professionals in
their area of expert. It guides them especially when faced by a problem
that require decision making (Antonellis, 2012). The success of
implementation of ethics is governed by the core values in the industry.
Core values refer to the guidelines upheld by professionals in their
work set up. They contribute to the morality of the society. Ethics
refers to the moral good or bad of an action as viewed by the society.
Personal code of ethics is what determines the moral uprightness of a
person. In addition, it refers to the feelings people have on an action.
It guides a person in the personal life and professional life. Based on
personal code of ethics, a person judges the consequentiality and
non-consequentiality theories of moral ethics Priorities in life are
governed by principles of good morals. Ethics determine the morality of
an individual and society at large (Lewin, 2012).
The twenty first century has declared a digital world in all aspects of
doing business. There is the interconnectivity of people and
organizations through digital platforms. Information technology has
advanced business applications for a competitive edge (Antonellis,
2012). Many businesses have turned social media sites as the new
marketing strategies. Mobile technology has also advanced in terms of
functionality and interface. All these global changes are attributable
to the fast entry of internet all over the world. Globalization has
affected the running and management of trade unions (Botson, 2005).
Also, economic crisis have an impact on the organization and operations
of trade unions. There is the need to re-think of the strategies of
running trade unions. There is shifting from the confrontational way of
management to a consultative one. Globalization also encourages
collaboration and use of social dialogues to bring harmony.
World Trade organization bodies such as International Labor Organization
and International Organization of Employers have created a shift in the
goal posts for trade unions (Antonellis, 2012). All the stakeholders are
brought together in one spirit of social justice and equality for all.
The adage which has quite penetrated minds of business leaders and other
management practitioners is the concept of shareholder wealth
maximization. This old pedagogical intuition can be achieved if the
corporations concentrate in agendas which would enhance the corporation
performance, by increasing the profits which in turn improve the share
prices of the company. The role of a business is a business those
practicing in other affairs, which are non-business, will definitely,
will lose to their competitors. In this view, the call to engage in
social matters is considered a deviation from the norm of the expected
business practice (DeMitchell, 2009).
Another effect of globalization and competition is the changes in the
work practices. Employers are advised to give fixed contract to their
employees and also ensure their job security (Botson, 2005). There is
also flexibility in work procedures attributed to technological
advancement. It is worth noting that a misapprehension of the role of
business organizations in the society could lead to detrimental societal
degradation. Corporations operate and succeed in and because of the
society (Antonellis, 2012). Furthermore, corporations often release some
affluence to their surrounding affecting the members of the society. It
is, therefore, fitting that they participate in making good the
environment in which they participate in polluting. Nonetheless, the big
question and debate is on the level of corporation’s involvement and
participation. To what extent will and organization be seen to
participate in the affairs of her society sufficiently. The major
question is whether it pays to engage in societal affairs (Holley,
Corporate social responsibility also affects the running and management
of trade unions. Debates on corporate social responsibility are gaining
greater heat amongst scholars of management (Botson, 2005). In spite of
this, it seems little is still known about CSR and corporate
performance. However, considerably huge volumes of research reveal that
practice of CSR pays, at least in the long-run. On the contrary, should
organizations sacrifice their current profitability and differ it to the
uncertain future? Corporate performance success is determined by an
entity’s spirited effort to maximize revenues and minimizing costs of
which CSR costs asserts pressure to the negative side (Holley, 2012).
Trade unions are facing many challenges in their operations, in the
modern society (DeMitchell, 2009). Leaders of these unions face very
challenging moments both from the organization itself and also from
outside the organization. There is also the problem with membership
compositions and structures of management. Political influences also
affect the running of these unions especially when they are negative
political influence (Antonellis, 2012).
Legislation affects trade union in many ways. Social security disability
is a fund that is meant to benefit those people who suffer a disability
that prevent them from working. It is administered by the social
security administration which is governed by the social security Act
(Botson, 2005). The funds are meant to help all persons who are
incapacitated at the time of work and the extent of incapacitation
affects their productivity. There are laid down rules for one to qualify
for the fund. One must be rendered disabled for a period not less than
twelve months to be termed as disable. Age is another factor where
someone should be below the age of sixty five. The funds are
administered universally without discrimination on gender or any other
There are various emerging issues in the discussion of trade union
topic. The contemporary society is a good source of the social classes
which are reflected at work places. Work is also another source of the
classes among employees, and it affects their interaction (Antonellis,
2012). The greatest disadvantage of the social classes is the problem of
unemployment among different people. Divisions are also caused by other
factors such as gender and ethnicity of the people. All these are the
blocks towards the realization of the equality at the work place and
even in the society. The society should embrace an all equal perspective
towards everyone for justice to prevail. Women have been on the move
towards addressing the social injustices of gender discrimination at
workplaces (DeMitchell, 2009). This has given rise to many women taking
higher positions like their male counterparts. The change should be
embraced by all employers so as to have a balance of gender at work. All
the duties should be distributed randomly without segregating some for
women and the minority in the society. There should be a fair playground
for all employees regardless of their gender.
Business operations like outsourcing of labor also affect the nature of
trade unions. Outsourcing is the process of contracting out part of the
business process to another company (Kearney, 2009). It is an emerging
issue of the twenty first century business management procedures.
Business outsourcing ranges from simple production methods to
outsourcing of labor factor of production. Modern business management
and especially in the manufacturing sector have been involved in
outsourcing of business services (DeMitchell, 2009). This is attributed
to the rising cost of production and the need for higher profits.
Minimum wages refers to the least hourly pay to a person. It may also
refer to the lowest pay per day for those who are paid on a daily basis,
or also the least minimum monthly pay for those who are paid on a
monthly basis. This matter has been on the debate among many economists
some of whom support it while others oppose it (Lewin, 2012). It is
argued that higher minimum wages are likely to raise the living
standards of the employees. It is also argued that higher minimum wages
lowers the poverty levels of the workers.
When labor is outsourced and applied to the operation of a business, the
strength of a trade union is undermined. Outsourced labor cannot form
membership of the trade union of the other full time workers. There are
various reasons why companies outsource business processes through third
parties (Kearney, 2009). One major reason is to evade certain costs of
production and manufacturing. In most cases, businesses outsource those
services which are not critical in nature. Regulation by government
policies is one of the leading reasons for business to outsource their
services. Companies opt to operate in those countries where the
regulation levels are low and would not affect the manufacturing
process. The level of government taxation also affects the decision of
the management to outsource its services. High taxes are unfavorable for
business practices and thus will encourage outsourcing. When taxes are
high, level of profit margin goes down as tax is inversely related to
profit levels. The membership of trade unions declines with the
application of outsourced labor.
In order to understand the interaction of generation X and Y with trade
unions, it is paramount to study their characteristics. Theory X
employees are regarded as follows:
Employees are lazy and have a dislike for work and thus will avoid it if
they can. The laziness among employees calls for strict supervision from
senior management. It also means a lot of coercion and control towards
employees. It is also characterized, by threats and punishment for the
work to be done (Lewin, 2012). Employees also avoid any form of
responsibility in the workplace. Another characteristic of a Theory X
employee is little ambition in their career and only look for security.
Theory Y employees depict the following traits:
The theory is characterized by positive view of employees and their
work. Employees like their work and treat it like a source of rest or
play (DeMitchell, 2009). They also view a work as a source of
satisfaction in their lives. There is no coercion or use of control
towards employees to work. The theory is also characterized by the
commitment of the employees towards their work and responsibilities.
Employees also take self-control and also self-direction in their
performance of duties. When the conditions of management at work are
favorable, the employees will seek and accept any responsibility. There
is also innovation and creativity among the employees.
The future of trade unions is dependent on the future of the nation’s
young people. Youths influence the way organizations are structured and
managed (Antonellis, 2012). They should be incorporated in the running
of these unions so as to integrate them into the system. The grievances
of the youths should be addressed, in an amicable manner for them to be
part of the union. The major challenge of the youths is lack of
employment opportunities where they can get engaged. They also face the
challenge of precarious jobs where they do not have job security. This
weakens their bargaining power and thus scares them away from the
running of trade unions (Kearney, 2009).
Twenty first century trade unions should be strengthened through an
increase in membership and also application of all the modern management
strategies (Mauer, 2001). Unions should enhance their bargaining power
and also relevance by adjusting to global changes in negotiations. There
should be an amicable conflict resolution between trade union and
employers (Kearney, 2009). Fair-trade movement should be enacted as a
way of rewarding all those businesses who follow the labor guidelines.
From an international trade point of view, imposing the fair-trade rule
is of great help and will curb the businesses from violating the labor
practices. Some of the guidelines include: the introduction of price
floors in the international market to cushion businesses from the
fluctuation in the prices of their commodities and also certification
which ensures businesses pay the right wages to their employees (Lewin,
2012). A trade theorist will argue that, prices of commodities are
determined by the forces of demand and supply and even also the price
for labor will also be determined by the supply of it.
The way forward for trade unions is to invest in the growth of members
and integration of members from various sectors of the economy. There
should be recognition of the global changes in the work place and also
in at the international level (Kearney, 2009). The current demands of
trade unions are different from those of the past unions. There have
been changes in the global labor market which have attributed to the
restructuring of the unions. Trade Unions should invest in education,
training and communication for its members. This will strengthen the
running of the union and also portray its relevance. When it comes to
succession plans, arrangements should be incorporated so as to ensure
legacy remains (Botson, 2005). Clear goals and objectives should be
outlined, in the unions’ charter to act as a guideline to everyone.
The relevance and sustainability of trade unions should be based on
developmental factors. There should be a clear guideline on the
succession of the top leadership personnel in the body (Botson, 2005).
Top management should also focus on the ways of improving the image of
the trade union through branding. Just the way marketers say branding is
a killer way of selling trade unions should also rebrand for image
creation. Scholars have advocated for a gender balance in the trade
union in order to encourage all workers to join the union (Lewin, 2012).
There should be equality in all the activities of trade union. Another
key area of improvement is training of the newly hired union top
management. Corporate restructuring should also be applied in the union.
Women representation in the trade union should also be enhanced.
Members of the union should be encouraged to practice professionalism in
their work. An individual should portray a professional picture to peers
at work (Botson, 2005). There should never be any conflict of interest.
One should observe the rule of law in carrying out the duties at work.
Integrity should be observed all times by all employees. This promotes
the level of interaction and professionalism at work. Senior management
should avoid all cases of nepotism, favoritism and undue influence in
making decisions of promotions (Holley, 2012). One should be promoted
because of their hard work and also qualification. Trading one’s
integrity to receive the favors will ruin the good working relationship
(DeMitchell, 2009). The boss should ensure a good relationship with the
juniors at all times.
The current demands of trade unions are different from those of the past
unions. There have been changes in the global labor market which have
attributed to the restructuring of the unions. It is the obligation of
the management to ensure that all employees have job security
(Antonellis, 2012). There should be proper guideline on the job
description to avoid friction at work. Professional boundaries should be
fastened at work place. Additionally, an employee should never assign a
job to the other and expect favors to fall on them. Harassments at work
should be avoided at all cost. One should never practice a competing
business with that of their employer. This will lower the chances of
conflict of interest. Clear goals and objectives should be outlined, in
the unions’ charter to act as a guideline to everyone (Botson, 2005).
All the members should adhere to the set rules and regulations of the
union’s charter. This will ensure a smooth transition of the
managerial roles from one generation to another.
In conclusion, the brief write up seeks to explain the roles of trade
unions and the challenges that face these unions in the 21st century.
Fair-trade movement should be enacted as a way of rewarding all those
businesses who follow the labor guidelines. From an international trade
point of view, imposing the fair-trade rule is of great help and will
curb the businesses from violating the labor practices. Some of the
guidelines include: the introduction of price floors in the
international market to cushion businesses from the fluctuation in the
prices of their commodities and also certification which ensures
businesses pay the right wages to their employees. A trade theorist will
argue that, prices of commodities are determined by the forces of demand
and supply and even also the price for labor will also be determined by
the supply of it. The survival of trade unions is based on empowerment
to its workers. All the youths should be prioritized in the agenda of
trade unions running and also management. Equal rights to all workers
should be the core business of any trade union. New skills like
leadership should be explored among the workers. The way forward for
trade unions is to invest in the growth of members and integration of
members from various sectors of the economy. There should be recognition
of the global changes in the work place and also in at the international
level. The current demands of trade unions are different from those of
the past unions. There have been changes in the global labor market
which have attributed to the restructuring of the unions. Trade Unions
should invest in education, training and communication for its members.
This will strengthen the running of the union and also portray its
relevance. When it comes to succession plans, arrangements should be
incorporated so as to ensure legacy remains. Clear goals and objectives
should be outlined, in the unions’ charter to act as a guideline to
Antonellis, P. J. (2012). Labor relations for the Fire Service. Tulsa,
Botson, M. R. (2005). Labor, civil rights, and the Hughes Tool Company.
College Station: Texas A & M University Press.
DeMitchell, T. A., & Association of School Business Officials
International. (2009). Labor relations in education: Policies, politics,
and practices. New York: Rowman & Littlefield
Holley, W. H., Jennings, K. M., & Wolters, R. S. (2012). The labor
relations process. Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
Kearney, R. C. (2009). Labor relations in the public sector. Boca Raton:
Lewin, D., & Gollan, P. J. (2012). Advances in industrial and labor
relations: Vol. 20. Bingley, U.K: Emerald.
Mauer, M. (2001). The union member`s complete guide: Everything you
want–and need–to know about working union. Annapolis, Md: Union
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