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Posted on March 14th, 2013, by

There is no need to say that every organization or company intents to be successful and profitable as much as it can. The inner company organization is one of the main reasons how successful the business may be. As the direct contact between the management and employees is realized through the unions, prosperity of the company in particular depends on union-management relationships. Thus, the ultimate purpose of the union is to gain management’s confidence, as well as to make them sure that employees regard prosperity and success of the company as one of the goals they are to achieve.

The issues and problems employees are concerned may be considered by means of the union, then placed on the agenda during the negotiations with the management. Certainly, such issues must throw light upon the problems concerning the common cause, labor relations, conditions of work. It is unlikely that the management will settle personal questions of the employees, unless these questions somehow regard to the work process and may influence on it, positively or negatively.

The union-management relationships immediately have an effect on whether the issue proposed will be solved in favor of one of the parties. The union shouldn’ make unrealizable demands or try to settle the issues they are not competent for. However, the management must not exploit employees’ labour, they should correctly value labour intensity and possible danger of the work some employees do.

In order to ask all the questions we are interested, we will consider the following concrete case. There has took place the meeting with two parties the union and the management participated on. The union has made a proposal that overtime would be paid at time-and-a-half for a minimum of 2 hours whenever it was assigned. The current contract read that overtime was paid at time-and-a-half only for the time worked. Undoubtedly, the proposal was quite daring, but to justify the union’s proposal it must to be said that there were not any strikes in the history of the labor-management relationships. So that the proposal represented by the union, was fully well-founded, especially since even half an hour working would be appreciable for employees. The time spent on working would reduce the time for resting. Therefore, demands proposed were quite just.

As for the management, interested in productivity improving and cost reducing, at first sight such a proposal seems unprofitable. In other words, the company management hardly would like to go to waste. However, such a fee for even half an hour working can make employees reiterate it in future. As a result, the work plan may be implemented ahead of time, that is rather profitable for the company.

Surely, not all of the management members think so optimistically. Yet the union has one substantial advantage that is their good relationships with the management, so that the last trusts the union representatives. Thus, this fact may promote mutual understanding and further the management’s agreement. The union is able to convince of the expediency of the proposal presented, since employees have not much to gain from it if they will be paid for just half an hour working, as the current contract read.

Of course, the management has power to turn the scale. In my opinion, the management should agree to satisfy a demand. A clean reputation of the union, employees’ desire to work overtime under such conditions, quite modest requirements all the facts favour the affirmative reply from the management. Indeed, in order not to blemish their reputation the union will do their best.
In case the management will turn down the request, they may consider some alternatives to counter this proposal. For instance, overtime may be paid at time-and-a-half for a minimum of an hour. Thus, the management has to overpay less amount of money but will derive benefit from it. Or they may raise amount of fee while minimum value of overtime is 2,5 hours. In other words, correcting the conditions of the proposal may reduce costs, as well as satisfy employees.

So then, the role of union-management relationships is high enough, as an inside atmosphere defines if the management will respect employees’ needs and focus attention on the proposals presented. Also it points at whether employees consider the main goal of the company to be successful and profitable, to be their one too.


Baird, M. (2002). Changes, dangers, choice and voice: Understanding what high commitment management means for employees and unions. Journal of Industrial Relations, 44.(3), 359-375.
Lucille Yarrington, Keith Townsend, Kerry Brown. Models of engagement: union management relations for the 21st century. Queensland University of Technology

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