LABOR RELATIONS AND POLITICAL.docx - Trade unionism is...

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Trade unionism is important for interaction between management and workers. It includes the system, principles and practices of trade unions. Membership usually consists of workers whose aim is to protect and promote their joint interests. An industrial dispute is a conflict between management and workers on certain employment terms. A trade union is recognized by the management at the company or workplace. An organization’s management can shut down or merge some of its assets or implement technological changes, this affects the interest of its employees. The employees try to enhance the terms and condition of their jobs by participating more actively in the process of decision making. Unions can be categorized according to ideology and organizational forms. Ideology refers to the union’s goal and objectives. A distinction is often made between political unionism and “bread and butter unionism“(also termed as business unionism). Most political unions have some formal association with a working class political party, usually socialist or Marxist. Political unions range from those dedicated to revolutionary activity to those seeking change through the electoral process. In most instances, politically oriented unions see fundamental conflicts between the interests of workers and capitalist system. The mainstream political unions common in Western Europe advocate a greater worker voice in business decision making. This system requires, by law, the appointment of worker representatives to a company’s board of directors. Companies in Germany also must establish works councils, which are shop-floor-level worker committees that provide input into organizational problem solving and decision making. In contrast to Western Europe and a number of developing countries, contemporary American labor unions are best viewed as reflecting business unionism ideology. Business unions generally support free market system and focus their attention on protecting and enhancing the economic welfare of the workers. By law in United States, unionized employers needed to bargain with unions over wages, hours, and working conditions. Most large national unions as well as its associations such as American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFLCIO) are involved in lobbying and electoral activities at all levels of government. Political objectives are usually reformist in nature, like the way unions campaigned against passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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