NOTES.docx - Union Movement Today and Tomorrow Employee...

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Union Movement Today and Tomorrow & Employee Safety and Health OBJECTIVES 1. Explain the management’s and supervisor’s role in safety. 2. Explain the basic facts about OSHA. 3. Clarify how to minimize unsafe acts by employees. 4. Explain how to deal with important occupational health problems. The Union Movement Today and Tomorrow Declining membership Laws have taken over much of the union’s traditional role as the workers’ protector. Automation, globalization and technology have reduced jobs in unionized manufacturing sectors. Unions have fail to organize new plants. Management has become better at resisting union organizing efforts. Membership is down but in some ways unions are becoming more influential today, so it is important to understand the union movement today and tomorrow. For example, unions are becoming more aggressive in terms of pushing Congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which, among other things, would enable employees to vote for the union by signing authorization cards, rather than going through a formal union election. New union federations, such as Change to Win, are being more aggressive about organizing workers, and unions are going global, for instance, by helping employees in China organize local Walmart stores. EMPLOYEE SAFETY AND HEALTH Is safety important? Safety and accident prevention concern managers for several reasons, one of which is the staggering number of workplace accidents. More than 80% of the workers in one survey ranked workplace safety as more important than minimum wages, sick days, and maternity leave. Injuries aren’t just a problem in dangerous industries like construction. For example, new computers contribute to airtight sick building symptoms like headaches and sniffles. And office work is susceptible to things like repetitive trauma injuries related to computer use. Management’s role in safety Safety always starts at the top. Telling supervisors to “be careful” and employees to “work safely” is futile unless everyone knows management is serious about safety. What the top management can do is to institutionalize top managements commitment with a safety policy, and publicize it. It should give safety matters high priority in meetings. The Supervisor’s role in safety The employer have the primary responsibility for safety, and the local supervisor was responsible for the day-to- day inspections. Safety inspections should always be part of the supervisor’s daily routine. Occupational Safety Law Occupational Safety and Health Act The law passed by Congress in 1970 “to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) The agency created within the Department of Labor to set safety and health standards for almost all workers in the United States.
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