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Labor Relation and Trade Unions


Over the years, trade unions have become increasingly important in the management of organizations. Effective labor relations call for honest as well as open communication. In light of this, there is the need to identify various ways through which organizations are impacted upon by labor relations and unions. Further, it is also important to explore how the performance of an organization is affected by policies, strategies, and policies to manage employees relations. To begin we must first determine what unions are and what their role has been in labor relations and the nation’s businesses.

Labor unions are associations, organizations, or a combination of employees who come together to secure favorable wages, improved working conditions, and better work hours and to resolve employee grievances (Colliver, 2005, p. 55). This helps enhance social-economic welfare of its members. Unions cannot only limit the direction that an organization takes but can also contribute to change workplace conditions. Union workers report lower job satisfaction when there is an increase in conflict with the management. It is however noted that unions can increase the productivity of the firm. By forming unions individual employees can work together to bargain or negotiate with their employers to benefit all members of the union (Grossman, 2005, p. 253). The process of bargaining for mutually beneficial benefits or agreements, and the interactions between employees and their employers during and after that process, are what forms the basis of labor relations. Labor relations cover all aspects of a job and of being an employee including all negotiations, discussions, and interactions between employers and employees.

Impact of labor unions at the organizational level

There are positive as well as negative benefits of labor unions. The positive impacts of the labor union in the workplace are collective bargain, better working conditions, better pay, reduction of child labor and one enabling employees to choose the work he or they can do best. With the introduction of labor unions, the employees’ unity strengthens; thus they can join together and form collective bargain (Grossman, 2005, p. 244). With labor unions, employees are dealt with as a group. Their voices are made stronger and are able to fight for the conditions they require at their workplace rather than when they are dealing with it individually.

In recruitment and selection the union insists on a fair recruitment process. On the part of the promotion, they insist on internal recruitment rather than the external recruitment as long as there is a qualified person from within (Bryson, 2005, p. 61). Flexible staffing is another positive impact of labor unions. Employees who are qualified for a given job are often placed on that job that best suits them. This is effective on the part of the organization since there will be increased productivity. Also on the job security labor unions ensure there is job security on the part of the employees. The employer is not liable to sacking an employee without having o follow the required procedure. Compensation should be given in case of such instances.

Variable pay and incentive: Every worker is liable to a better pay according to the amount of work that he does. Employees should be given various incentives such as health benefits, family care benefits, insurances and any incentive that is offered by the employer (Noe et al, 2009, p. 265). This is based on research carried out in Canada where it was reflected that workers under union enjoyed more incentives than those who were not under any union. Regarding organization climate and workplace culture, unions have greater impact on an organization’s climate and workplace culture in a variety of ways. There are barriers to effective communication in the organization, on the part of employees voice the union threats have great impacts on the management responding to particular problem rather than when dealing with it on her own (Colliver, 2005, p.11).

The relevancy of Unions within the United States?

At a trade union, priority often goes to ensuring that the employment of their members is protected. When unions negotiate for better working conditions this may result in strikes. In America, strikes are the last resort and are relatively rare. The view of unions in America seems to have been established in the last quarter of the Twentieth Century by corporate executives, Republican politicians, and media reports (Bryson, 2005, p. 243). The view is that unions are bad for the American economy, American businesses, and American employees. Unions have been blamed for the failure of the American auto industry, the decline of the manufacturing industry, the need to outsource, poor product quality, and the high cost of consumer goods and services. Unions, however, although not perfect and certain not without their faults, have been responsible for many employee rights and protections that America would not otherwise have (Colliver, 2005, p. 62). Their role in American history, business, and economy has been significant and, for the most part, beneficial.

Unions have, of course, affected employers as much as they have affected employees. Their impact on employers, however, may not be clear. On the one hand, unions’ purpose is to improve conditions for employees, not employers. On the other hand, however, unions do not benefit from negotiating for or achieving conditions that harm employers because that may cost union members their jobs (Noe et al, 2009, p. 250). However, it must be noted that unions do not act alone and employers and businesses are as responsible for the results obtained in labor relations and their impact on organizational performance as unions are (Bryson, 2005, p. 231). Regardless of Republican candidates’ appeals to end unions’ because they ruin the economy and cost jobs and Democratic candidates’ appeals to support union members and their endeavors for decent jobs and wages, unions, employees, and employers are interdependent. Further, whether a result will be beneficial or not is mainly up to both sides to determine (Grossman, 2005, p. 137).The unions in America may be low but there are still some employers who should have open dialogue with the employee. American workers still lack many rights. Unions need to point this out to American workers and they need to find ways to open dialogues with American employees so that they can begin to create new relationships which would be mutually beneficial.


In conclusion from the above study we find the labor unions and relations are very important on the part of the employee and the employer. It doesn’t matter which part of the world is in America Africa or Asia. All workers need the labor union to be in a position to be represented well and also avoid incidences of exploitation. Labor unions have the goal to obtain work conditions that satisfy their members. Society’s values have included the hope that the existence of unions will replace conflict or violence between workers and employers with fruitful negotiation. Unions help provide ways of managing conflicts between the management and subordinate, thus they offer a representation of employees in the organization to provide a bargaining process and support their interests. The union help increase the quality and quantity that employee offer to their employers since there is an increase in their voice. The unions can also be beneficial to the organization.


Bryson, A. (2005). Union Effects on Employee Relations in Britain. London: The Tavistock Institute.

Colliver, V. (2005) Hospital Workers set day to strike at St Luke’s. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 12, 2010, from:

Grossman, R. J. (2005). Unions Follow Suit. HR Magazine, 50(50): 137-139.

Raymond, A., Noe, J., R. Hollenbeck, B., Gerhert, P. & Wright, M. (2009).

Trends in Human Resources Management. (3 ed.). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies

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