Essays on Decline in the Union Membership and Various Reasons Why People Join Unions Case Study

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper 'Decline in the Union Membership and Various Reasons Why People Join Unions' is a wonderful example of a Management Case Study. Unions are essential mechanisms that articulate and represent the interests of employees. Unions act as a mechanism through which employees contribute to the enforcement and authorship of laws that regulate employment relations. They are channels through which workers influence their conditions and terms of employment, practice, and processes utilized in the workplace. Trade unions entail a constant link that upholds and improves employment conditions for workers.

The role of trade unions is to represent employees. Notwithstanding the significant role of unions in the workplace, union membership has declined. Between 1992 and 2011, the percentage of union membership fell from forty-three percent to eighteen for male employees and from thirty-five to eighteen percent of female employees. This essay highlights the reasons for the decline in union membership and investigates why people join unions. The essay also underscores the impact of the decline in union membership on employers and managers. Evolution of UnionIn Australia, unions began between 1900 and 1989 with the emergence of the ACTU (Australian Council of Trade Unions).

Unions were focused on the compulsory arbitration and compelled the development of tribunals with the power to create lawfully binding decisions aimed at resolving industrial disputes. Unions thrived under the Arbitration Act of 1904 and by 1921, the number of unions reached 382. Between 1901 and 1921, the percentage of the Australian workforce covered by the unions increased to fifty-two percent. However, in the 1980s the union density declined to reach a level of fifty percent. Between 1992 and 1999, the union density further fell by nearly two percent, and by 2002, only twenty-three percent of employees maintained union membership.

Between 1990 and 1996, the proportion of federally registered unions dropped from 295 to 132. By July 2000, they were only fifty unions linked to the ACTU. Union membership has not only declined in Australia, but also in the United States, Britain, and other nations. Prior to the Civil War, labor unions were weak and short-lived. However, after the Civil War, industrialization increased rapidly. The percentage of the workforce in the manufacturing industries grew from ten percent in 1860 to almost thirty percent by 1920.

Union membership increased after 1880 in the United States. According to Sexton (2012, p. 459), the increase in labor unions was partly because of the horrendous working conditions in the manufacturing industries. Children as young as five years old and women were handling risk machinery for long hours on a daily basis. In this regard, the union demands were to prompt higher wages, as well as a reduction in work hours besides improved working conditions.

In the past 60 years, the percentage of workers in union jobs has declined sharply to 12.3% from 33%. The proportion of workers in the public sector remains high. Nearly forty percent of workers in the public sector are labor union members. In the private sector, on the contrary, less than eight percent of private-sector employees are union members. In the education sector, teacher’ s organizations with an example of the National Education Association (NEA) have turned into robust labor unions. Reasons for Joining UnionsScores of employers, politicians, and even the media disapprove of the labor movement.

Unions are viewed as outdated and organizations that fail to provide any good to their members. Despite all the complaints and criticism regarding unions, some employees still join these unions. Employees established unions to offer them a powerful voice at their workplace. Union members strive to enhance their safety in their workplace and good working conditions. Unions offer members the needed advice, support, and information regarding employees’ rights. There are different types of employee unions, which include state-sanctioned and voluntary trade unions. According to Amos, Ristow, Pearse, and Ristow (2008, p. 82), craft unions organize workers based on their skill irrespective of their industries.

Industrial unions bring workers in a given industry together on a detailed basis irrespective of certain tasks carried out such as mining, clothing and textiles, health sectors, and education. Industry unions involve people who work in the same industry. Company unions bring together members who work in the same firm irrespective of their roles. General unions bring all employees together from different levels and industries irrespective of their industry or job. Most countries hold some form of trade union practice.

The most dominant categorization of the union in Australia depends on membership. Employees join trade unions for economic needs, job security, and regulation, political reasons, social needs, self-fulfillment, to protect skill, and for representation purposes. Other reasons why employees join unions include displeasure with the economic aspect of their jobs, a desire to influence some aspects of their work settings, and benefits linked to unionism (Pride, Hughes & Kapoor 2011, p. 210). In addition, people make the decision to join unions because of the value of the benefits linked to these unions.

Unionism is considered a major tool for attaining certain purposes such as employment insurance. Other people unionize given the political approach to the temperament of their work. In Australia, employees join unions for instrumental reasons as opposed to ideological purposes. Sims (2002, p. 342) asserts that people join unions because they believe that there are better off when they join the unions. In the past, people joined unions because of the need to improve the unpleasant working conditions. For instance, between the 18th and 19th centuries, some employers treated their employees unfairly in their quest for greater profits.

People who are dissatisfied with the jobs believe that joining unions would improve their jobs (Bryson, Barth & Dale-Olsen 2013 p. 1008). With respect to employers, trade unions assist in workforce management. Reasons for Decline in Union Membership

References

List

Amos, T, Ristow, A, Pearse, N & Ristow, L 2009. Human resource management. S.A: Juta and Company Ltd.

Barry, J 2000. Organization and management: A critical text. UK: Cengage Learning.

Bennett, J & Kaufman, B 2002. The future of private sector unionism in the United States. USA: M.E Sharpe.

Bryson, A, Barth, E & Dale-Olsen, H 2013, ‘ The effects of organizational change on worker well-being and moderating the role of trade unions’, Industrial & Labor Relations Review, vol.66, pp. 989-1011.

Deckop, J 2006.Human resource management ethics. UK: IAP

Fiorito, J& Jarley, P 2012, ; Union organizing and membership growth: Why don’t they organize’, Journal of Labor Research, vol.33, no.3, pp. 461-486.

Howell, C 2009. Trade unions and the state: The construction of industrial relations institutions in Britain, 1890-2000. UK: Princeton University Press.

Mackenzie, G 2011. The decline of the traditional pension: A comparative study of threats to retirement security.UK: Cambridge University Press.

Pride, W, Hughes, R & Kapoor, J 2011. Business. UK: Cengage Learning.

Sexton, R 2012. Exploring microeconomics. USA: Cengage Learning.

Sims, R 2002. Organizational success through effective human resource management. USA: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Zanko, M 2002. The handbook of human resource management policies and practices, Volume 1. UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us