Labor relation entails policies and daily practices that are concerned with the regulation and management of individual and team relationships within the organization. Essentially, employee relations are centered on the ability to resolve and prevent conflicts that involve either an individual or the teams in the organization which directly affect work situations and performance. Efficient communication ensures that information is passed to the employees in order to allow them understand better the company’s goals and objectives.
Most employee relations managers uphold the responsibility of handling grievances, individual code of conduct while in the office, evaluation of employee performance and counseling programs. Sound employee relations are based on participation and effective communication for both the management and the employees. There are various management styles that cover the way employee relations must be conducted in order to achieve the best from the employees. (Selid, 1995)
Trade unions are organized groups of employees officially recognized by both the government and their employer that have come together to promote their common interests. Trade unions have a responsibility of ensuring get the value of what they work for. They are directed to provide a communication channel between the employer and the employees. In some cases, In the United States, trade unions are registered by the specific State that it operates from and they are ratified by the federal government.
The United States have a national advisory board referred to as Employee Relations Advisory Board (ERAB) that is concerned with formulating national policies which must be adhered to by individual Employee Relations Advisory Organization (ERAO) which every institution including airline companies must have. At least one representative of ERAO is elected to sit at the Employee Relations Advisory Board.
In an airline setting for example, their union is responsible for providing the company’s management with suggestions on how to solicit and disseminate information on plans and programs that are designed for employees who will enhance efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. (Employee Relations Advisory Organization, 2004)
There are impact of changes in employee relations strategies, policies, and practices on organizational performance. For example if employees within an organization are represented by a trade union fully recognized by the same organization e.g. the airline company and the government, cooperation between the employer that is airline company and its employees will be enhanced the workplace.
Good and sound formulated strategies and policies that relates to labor relations in organization particularly the airline companies will lead to attainment of organizations goals and pursuing the company’s mission statement in the direct path. There are various management styles that cover the way employee relations must be conducted in order to achieve the best from the employees. These management styles are intended to teach employees the following; applicable regulations and policies, bargaining agreements, grievance and appeal rights, and discrimination and protection of whistleblowers.
The impact of changes in employee relations has broadened its definition from the initial industrial relations to such aspects as employer-employee relations, personal contracts, workplace environmental safety, and socio-emotional factors. In developed countries like in the U.S and mostly in airline industries, there is a growing trend of harmonization in almost all levels of government mainly because of the government commitment to enhance employee relations programs. (Sparrow and Hilltop, 1994)
Trade unions plays a very major role in trying to protect the rights of employees who form there membership and research indicates that they still relevant in the U.S. administration because they have the task of ensuring that employees rights regarding to the workplace are protected. However, due to corruption and other malpractices the effectiveness of these trade unions has been compromised over the last few years.
Research indicates that the employers in the U.S. for example employers in the airline industry are reported to be harassing there employees in the pretext that they are giving out instructions to be obeyed in order to achieve the stated organizational goals, a development which does not auger well with trade unions in the U.S. (Delaney and Huselid, 1996)
In general, these trade unions has the following roles, labor climate assessment, positive employee relation programs, union campaigns and election objectives, unfair labor practices such as poor wages and unfounded dismissals, dealing with workplace harassment, coordinating and implementing cooperate relations programs, and handling complaint/issue resolution processes in the respective organizations among others.
The only problem that normally cause misunderstanding between the trade unions and the companies or government is that the trade unions can organize go slows, strikes, destructions etc when round table solutions to issues fails. This is very hard for a company to control but with negotiations, it can reach an agreement.
Trade unions officials are responsible to their members and they are usually elected to office mainly through secret ballots. This implies those vying for any seats have to campaign for votes from the union members. Sometimes some officials use unfair campaign strategies that do not foster fairness and equality among the contenders.
Also these trade union officials play a significant role in any country’s general election because they can influence their members on what directions to vote e.g. advising the members to vote out the present government because of some dissatisfaction that they have with it. Trade unions plays an important role contract negotiations; almost everything can be bargained these days and therefore with employee relations through trade unions such issues as awarding contracts, compensations, benefits, and work schedules can be sorted out by discussing them until a solution is achieved.
The bargaining approach settles conflicts that arise as a result of contract matters. It also outlines the rules with which the basis of handling specific work agreements is sorted out. Normally, if this approach is well utilized, employee relations are greatly improved.
Grievance handling in any organization is very crucial to all organizations and at least every company has some way of dealing with their grievances. In fact, it is considered that a few individuals in a company are so arrogant that they are font of harassing their workmates leading to poor productivity. Companies need to develop a grievance handling procedure that will ensure that conflicts are eliminated in the organization.
Without proper handling grievances of the employees well trade unions may call for strikes to force the government to implement their desired changes. In the recent past strikes and go-slows have become common methods which employees use them to pass their grievances to their employers. (Brewster, 1995)
It is therefore prudent for management of any organization to adopt employee recognition strategies. This is another factor that the employers put into consideration for the organization to improve its employee relations; this is basically a communication instrument, which strengthens and compensates the most significant production that the employees have created for the organization. The recognition structure is always made simple, instant, and effectively supportive to the employees’ relations and the organization at large. (Chevrier, 2003)
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