Labor Management Relations

Katszuba’s write-up, which appears in the Star Tribune, is similar to Lulli and Henson’s (2006) article in two aspects. First, both articles tackle issues associated with labor union organizing. Katszuba’s article describes a problem associated with efforts to organize a labor union in an office that appears to be exempt from labor union organizing according to State Laws. In the same manner, Lulli and Henson are interested in the dynamics of labor union organizing in a growingly difficult environment where businesses are more interested in reducing labor costs and retaining their competitive advantage.

Another similarity is that both articles present the political factors that affect labor union organizing wherein both explore the political motives behind union formation. Both Katszuba’s and Lulli and Henson’s article presents the agenda behind union organizing for the employees and other interest groups and personalities.

On the other hand, there are differences between Katszuba’s report and Lulli and Henson’s (2006) article in terms of data and facts presented, specific issues raised, and the perspective from which the general issue of labor union organizing is discussed. Lulli and Henson’s article clearly present the general business and economic environment where labor unions are situated, the factors that promote labor union organizing activities, and the political, social, technological, and internal business practice agenda forwarded by the labor movement.

They attempt to provide a wide understanding of the innovations in strategies and tactics employed by labor unions in general. Meanwhile, Katszuba describes a more particular scenario involving the organizing efforts of a labor union at the State Attorney General’s office. His article focuses more on the conflicting interests between the labor union, the State Attorney General as employer, and the employees of the Attorney General’s office.

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Likewise, Lulli and Henson raises the issue of the political, economic, and social impact of more advanced strategies and tactics used by labor unions to further their sectoral interests. The article discusses in detail the various ways in which labor unions are able to influence legislation, pressure politicians and investors into keeping businesses that are deemed anti-labor from opening new markets in some states, expand membership through a planned recruitment strategy targetting the younger generation of workers, take advantage of technology to advance their organizing efforts and reach a wider audience, and turning mergers and other business activities into opportunities to consolidate and strengthen their ranks.

Lulli and Henson note how the results of credible surveys such and polls point to an uptrend for labor union power, support, and influence among the population and how an environment that is supportive of labor unions is encouraged by political and economic developments. They therefore give credit to the labor unions for being able to stand up for their interests and being able to come up with better strategies in organizing. At the same time, the authors observe that human resource professionals must be able to take note and study these developments in the labor movement critically in order to formulate appropriate approaches and tactics in dealing with increased union activity.

Katszuba, on the other hand, highlights the tensions and problems created by the labor union organizing attempts in the State Attorney General’s office between employer and employees and within the labor union movement itself due to the “illegality” of labor organizing in the AG’s office. Likewise, the article not only raises the question of the validity of establishing a labor union in the State Attorney General’s office but also the question of motive in such efforts.

To this effect, the article presents the controversy that a former candidate for the State General’s Office is behind the labor organizing efforts and is fanning the embers of employee dissatisfaction in order to destabilize the Office and embarrass the incumbent Attorney General. The question of motive is a crucial point in this article since it influences the reader’s perception of the trouble arising from labor union activities and seems to discredit the efforts of the labor union to gain employee representation by ascribing their motives to an external force other than the employees.

The main difference between the two articles lies in the perspective from which union activities and tactics are discussed. Lulli and Henson’s article approaches the subject of evolving labor union strategies academically and in a neutral manner. They present the data in a way that attempts to provide Human Resource personnel with useful information on handling labor union organizing efforts and activities.

In contrast, Katszuba’s article presents the story of the “organizing flap” in the Attorney General’s office in a more sensationalized manner. Although there is an attempt to establish objectivity by presenting both sides of the contending parties, the article is unfortunately lacking in more detailed explanation of the legislative factor that renders the organizing activities illegal.

Thus, Mike Katszuba’s report on the “organizing flap in the AG’s office” and Lulli and Henson’s (2006) article on “union organizing trends and tactics” are similar in that they examine the phenomenon and issues of labor union organizing. However, a deeper scrutiny of the two articles reveals that while there may be similarities between these reports, there are also salient differences in terms of the facts they present, the issues they raise, and the perspective and objectives that the respective authors wish to impart to their readers.

 

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