How Do Unions Affect the Human Resources

free essayThe first part of the current work is dedicated to highlighting the period, when humanity has been defending its rights in a quest to improve working conditions. The 20th century was the epoch of minor changes and extremely necessary governmental interventions. The second part questions whether the human resource management (HRM) has unique roles for different groups or if these areas overlap. The last part intends to assess the statement that workers in the modern workplaces of America are well protected and well supported.

The Roles of Unions, HRM Personnel, and Government

During the 20th century nine million people had immigrated to the USA in the pursuit of better living and working conditions. Nobody had even thought that the workers would die of the tough conditions in the workplace. At first, there were few laws covering safety and health at work (Catlin, 2007). Moreover, there was no legal protection of unions. However, finally, the government managed to organize some agencies to protect workers after a vast number of horrific tragedies. Consequently, it was the epoch when governmental interventions began to address worker rights and safety.

During the 1940s safety at work had turned into an essential and important issue. The government was utterly concerned about working conditions when the National Labor Relations Act provided a legal right to unionize (Catlin, 2008a). It was the real way to protect the rights of employers and employees and curtail those practices which could harm the welfare of workers.

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Lastly, during the 1960s, a revolution of occupation safety and health, which was supported by two movements, created a climate of reform. Once again, the law, which created a new governmental agency concerning health and safety, came to force when a major disaster in Virginia happened. The act says that employers have the primary responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace, and workers have the right to talk to the supervisors about their concerns (Catlin, 2008b). Thus, the process of protection of the workers’ rights and health had been evolving gradually.

Nevertheless, nowadays society (particularly young workers) do not feel a need for the unions and do not want to be involved in such organizations. However, a century ago, the creation of unions motivated and encouraged people to devote themselves to their job, because they knew that their voices would be heard, whereas now unions have lost their power. Unions helped young workers to become aware of the rights they thought they did not have (Wolfson, 2010). Now these organizations also guarantee security, benefits and pension after the retirement. Therefore, older generation hopes to engage young workforce in the unions and tries to make them passionate about such organizations.

Some people think that these organizations manage to prevent employees from organizing, and sometimes they really do so. Nonetheless, such decisions affect seriously both the relations between employers and workers, and their individual performance as well as the business in general (von Hoffman, 1998). With the help of unions, the employees are pursuing the goal of improving the quality of work. Moreover, the workers want to be heard and recognized. The union is the best way to find a compromise between two parties and to solve most of the problems related to human resources. Workers should definitely have rights in the workplace, and the best solution lies in organizing unions. These groups provide a rational basis for dealing with the employees’ interests and creating a favorable climate both for employers and employees. This approach allow to create positive working relationships as well.

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The Roles of HRM

HR includes several major schools, which popularize various and distinct concepts. They can function in the same organization simultaneously, which means that HRM serves the roles for different groups. Each school has a distinctly positive effect, but the system splits up, and, as a result, there are no involved and loyal workers. CEOs cannot figure out how to mix these thoughts among themselves and combine them in one system, because each person can put forward some controversial proposals. As a result, there are two problems. First, there is no unifying concept. Second, each company needs an employee who could unite various concepts and offer the major one. There is no doubt that such person does not exist. Therefore, HR experts should try to act professionally in order to guarantee high quality of work.

At the same time, unions are the organizations of workers who have come together to achieve common goals. Their members are trying to improve safety standards and frequently achieve higher pay and benefits. Unions guarantee and maintain decent working conditions and negotiating labor contracts. Consequently, unions are focused on one group. They help to create environment in which people feel respected and valued. In addition, they establish a structure for communication between employers and employees ensuring that all voices are heard.

The Assessment of Modern Workplaces

The statement that “workers in the modern workplaces of America are well protected and well supported” is rather controversial. Nowadays numerous companies are making attempts to revive the work ethic within their HR departments. Unfortunately, there are no payoffs and companies are suffering from the lack of productivity. Human resources planning can be a catalyst used to accelerate the building of an effective workforce (Skinner, 1981). However, there is no wholehearted cooperation among the workers.

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Some workers prefer to run everything independently, as they are not used to changes and their companies lack authority and power. The lack of fundamental planning in human resources is at the root of the problem as managers permanently fail to listen, communicate, or explain. Whenever there is mutual misunderstanding, employees become alienated. Workers need to have specific schedules and be committed. Managers need to weed out unproductive skills or attitudes and find suitable approaches to the employees who should be motivated and encouraged. There should be strong authority and responsibility for effective working processes. When these requirements are fulfilled, people are extremely energized as they become the most powerful and essential corporate competitive resource.

Effective HR have never been more necessary for employees than now. This department can help provide organizational excellence of the labor collectives and become a champion for employees representing their concerns to CEOs and working to increase employee contribution as well as commitment (Ulrich, 1998). Workers need a person who will support them during the process of transformation and improve their capacity for change. Human resource managers should take the lead in proposing and creating the best practices in such programs as appraisal and reward systems.

How It Works


In conclusion, in 19th century the government began to show its concern about working conditions and then the National Labor Relations Act made unionization legal. The act created in the second of part of 19th century states that employers have the primary responsibility of providing safe and healthy workplaces. The unions guarantee security, benefits and pension after the retirement and assure that the voices of employees will be heard. HRM have various approaches for different groups and, as a result, there is no unifying concept. Therefore, every company needs an employee who could unite various concepts and offer a single one. The statement “workers in the modern workplaces of America are well protected and well supported” is rather controversial and companies are suffering from the lack of productivity while they are trying to revive the work ethic. There is mutual misunderstanding between employers and employees, who should be motivated and encouraged.