Unions Essay, Research Paper
The Role Of Unions in SocietyIn the past, unions were established to protect the dignity and the basic rights of the worker. Union protection of the worker is genuine in well-established countries. Unfortunately, in third world countries workers do not enjoy the benefits of suitable wages, sick leave, and respect from their employer. At the Kuk-Dong textile factory in Mexico workers complain of ?poverty wages, hunger, and getting sick on the job and not being allowed time off?. Nike, who contracts work to the factory, claims, ?it has a strong code of conduct and is part of the Fair Labor Association?and hires outside firms to make sure the 700 factories that produce its goods are playing by the rules?. The Kuk – Dong textile factory has a ?company union? which was established by management, failed to represent the interests of employees, and as a result was thrown out after a violent protest. Nike, a leading sports apparel manufacturer should have demanded that the Kuk-Dong factory owners treat their employees with dignity, otherwise, Nike should have requested that The Kuk-Dong factory be reprimanded by the law for exploiting their employees. In this case, a union did not protect workers, but was used as a tool by management to further manipulate the poorly treated workers of the Kuk-Dong factory.
Over time, the demands of the worker have changed with the evolving technology industry, the worker is now more educated and have different basic demands of their employer. The operating hours of businesses have also changed; the average worker can now work from home via the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Middle management at Bell Canada Inc. are expected to work at least 37.5 hours weekly, but usually put in 45 hours a week and some even 50 and 60 hours. These conditions are what lead Middle managers at Bell to approach The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union. A precedent in Canadian unions took place when Bell employees could download membership applications from the Internet and mail them in. To still be an effective force in today?s workplace, unions need to work with employers to establish less stressful demands of employees. To combat employee stress overload, employee ? friendly workplaces in companies such as MDS Sciex have ?balanced living programs? where a concierge service is brought in to run errands for the employee. This type of service frees personal and family time for the employee ensuring employee loyalty and reluctance to join a union. The needs for unions are quickly fading because of increased efforts by employers to keep their employees happy.
Unions are an idea of the past in established countries. The Youth of today do not identify with the values of unions because ?employees are confident in their ability to speak up for themselves and cut their own deals?. Union inability to target youth oriented markets such as small retail and service sectors have proven to be fatal because youth are not familiar with what unions stand for. Being a youth, I have never felt the need to be part of a union because my employer, Starbucks has many ?pro-employee? principles. For instance, Starbucks offers health coverage to all of its employees whether they are working in the office or in one of the stores as a barista. Starbucks also pays its employees much more than standard minimum raise. Starbucks also refers to all of its employees as being ?partners? because employees are given stock options. I do not know many people who are my age who work for organizations who offer such benefits. Unions are more of an issue with newly developed countries, who in essence, are living in the past. The idea of a union has to be reformed in order to fit into today?s business structure.