Human Resources – Labor Unions – Discussion by Marlene Mendoza

First Question: The four functions of national and local unions are unions can assist employees with their labor relations problems including representation, campaigns can get organized, negotiations in regards to contracts, to cover laws and rulings by giving special privileges. They have a union shop and it helps them with economic needs by improving their present economic conditions. They have political involvement which is great in supporting officials that work for the public. In addition, they provide training, arranging boycotting a product if needed, using information technology to reach their members (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).

Furthermore, the AFL-CIO craft unions handle lobbying, organizing efforts, publicizing and resolving disputes. Add to this, the local unions have officers that organize and negotiate labor agreements, grievances and legal issues. Included is the collective bargaining process which may include strikes and boycotting to fight for a cause to help it members. They also develop strategies and tactics to bargain between managers and union negotiators (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).

Second Question: The significance of the reasons for the employees to unionize is the employee doesn’t feel along whenever a problem occurs. They will have a team of experts to bargain on their behalf or to organize special events for boycotting or handling grievances and legal issues. The union’s bargaining power helps the employee economically, politically and in the environment around them socially. They are there at the bargaining table so it’s organized and getting the issue to contract or down on paper and getting both sides of the bargaining table to agree. The union can help answer important questions: Should they strike? Should they replace workers? Should the lock out employees? With unions there is always an arbitrator that assists in making the difficult decisions for rights and grievance arbitrations (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).

Third Question: The effects are that unionization has on HR Management is it has a service agreement and granted exclusive representation to the employees in the bargaining-unit. This is helpful to the employees whether they sign to belong to the union or not. Everyone is treated legally and it is HR’s responsibility to see that the employees are treated that way too whether union or non-union (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).

Fourth Question: The benefits of belonging to a union and the drawbacks of not belonging to a
Union are as follows:

The benefits are there is more participation in decision-making by management when there is organization of meetings, negotiations and events by unions. In addition, when employees are disciplined, managers will have to answer to the unions to see that there was just cause. It’s almost like having an auditor watching the books, except in this case the union representatives watch the managers and HR and be sure the employees are being treated fairly (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).

The disadvantages are employers state that it is more costly to have unions than non-unions in their companies. Moreover, benefits and wages cost more. In addition, the unions make decisions without consulting the employees plus supervisor’s authority is challenged and management has less freedom (Bohlander & Snell, 2007).


Bohlander, G. & Snell, S. (2007). The dynamics of labor relations. Managing Human Resources. 14th Edition. Manson, Ohio: South-Western. Retrieved November 24, 2009, from Kaplan University Web Site.

Written by: Marlene Mendoza


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