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Question

Provide 5-7 suggestions that you believe would improve current Labor conditions and negotiations.

Answer

Labor Conditions and Negotiations

Labor conditions are the circumstances under which employees operate and the factors that influence their work such as the physical environment, safety, social amenities, and stress levels. On the other hand, labor negotiations play a vital role in determining labor relations in an industry, sector, or organization. Similarly, local laws provide a framework for employee relations, the operations of labor organizations, and interactions between various parties and government agencies. The role of this framework is to create a working environment that is favorable to both employers and employees. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find a workplace whose labor conditions are perfect since most of them are characterized by many challenges ranging from overtime issues and low wages to occupational hazards and lack of representation in trade unions. There are five ways in which current labor conditions and negotiations can be improved; they include synchronizing overtime work systems with existing terms of employment, outlining new roles for labor unions, government participation in regulating collective bargaining, improving inter-union relations, and reforming welfare systems for the aging workforce.

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Synchronizing Overtime Work Systems with Existing Terms of Employment

            Overtime work has become a dominant feature in many workplaces today. This situation is attributed to the need for employees to work overtime to reach targets and to earn extra money. On the other hand, employers use overwork programs to help them to achieve their organizational objectives without having to hire additional staff. The rising challenge surrounding overtime work today affects both the employee and the employer. It arises mainly because of a disorganized process of allocating salaries and wages that fails to offer reasonable compensation for overtime work. To deal with these problems, employers should find suitable strategies that prevent employees from becoming dependent on overtime programs. At the same time, they should put in place mechanisms for fostering employee productivity in reformed workplace arrangements. If properly synchronized with corporate operations, overtime work can be beneficial to both employees and employers. Employees would succeed in earning extra income while employers would get targets met without extra labor-related costs such as insurance cover and the hiring of new employees.

Outlining New Roles for Labor Unions

            During the post-industrialization era, labor unions were instrumental in regulating and finally establishing the work environment that exists today. They are in charge of collective bargaining promoting labor conditions and representing members on labor issues (Loughran, 2003). However, their popularity has declined in recent decades, with many people dismissing them as incapable of effecting substantial changes in the workplace. This problem has occurred primarily because labor unions are still inclined to the old system of operation that characterized the industrial age. To remain relevant, they should evolve in response to the changing workplace of today’s information age. They must redefine their roles and develop new systems that are suited to the new challenges, laws, and practices that define contemporary labor conditions and negotiations.

Government Participation in Regulating Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining is a negotiation process that brings together employees and employers with the aim of reaching an agreement on wages and salaries. This process is primarily executed by trade unions representing the employees by negotiating to reach a legally-binding agreement. Apart from the labor negotiations, the government has a direct responsibility in terms of regulating the work environment. It is in charge of creating and adjusting existing laws to suit both the employees and employers. For example, national and industry laws prevent the exploitation of one party by the other. The former protects the rights of unionized- and non-unionized workers on the basis of citizenship. This protection is crucial especially for non-unionized workers who may not receive the same benefits as unionized workers. The government needs to take active responsibility for enacting and enforcing these effectively.

Improving Inter-Union Relations and Communication

            Today, labor unions also face challenges in terms of inter-union relations. Fortunately, many of them have identified and accepted the rising problem of reduced membership and are working on ways to overcome this obstacle. However, most of them continue to adopt ineffective strategies of dealing with this situation, leading to disagreements that distract them from their core objectives. These wrangles have then led to power struggles and subsequent divisions. Rather than splitting, unions that share the same goals and industry focus should integrate. This will strengthen them in a manner that will enable them to harness their immense ability and power in terms of representing their members (Yates, 2009).

Reforming Welfare Systems for the Aging Workforce

        Finally, trade unions should prioritize the safety of aging workers primarily in terms of their financial stability. It is imperative for all stakeholders in the labor industry to address retirement-related challenges for employees particularly at this time when the aging workforce is worryingly huge. Many nations such as Japan and America are already grappling with this problem. Other than retirement issues, replacement strategies should be put in place to ensure a smooth transition to a younger workforce.

Conclusion

            The contemporary workplace is characterized by numerous challenges that must be addressed to improve productivity, job satisfaction, and overall organizational effectiveness. Thus, efforts to improve labor conditions and negotiations constitute a vital undertaking for employers, labor unions, and other stakeholders such as government agencies. Some of the issues that need to be addressed are related to the physical environment, poor remuneration for overtime work, occupational hazards, and lack of representation in trade unions. To address most of these challenges, inter-union relations should be fostered in a manner that promotes government participation in all collective bargaining processes. These efforts will go a long way in creating conditions that are favorable to the amicable resolution of most issues affecting employees such as poor remuneration for overtime work and inefficient welfare systems for the aging workforce.

References

Lourghran, C. S. (2003). Negotiating a labor contract. Arlington, TX: Bna Books.

Yates, M. D. (2009). Why unions matter. New York, NY: Monthly Review Press.

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