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Workers' Rights: Union Organization & Management Relations

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  • 0:01 Workers' Rights
  • 0:34 History of Union Development
  • 1:12 Process of Organizing Unions
  • 3:36 Collaboration
  • 4:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Employees are one of the primary stakeholders to a corporation. In this lesson, you will learn about the importance of workers' rights and how unions can create a joint relationship with management.

Workers' Rights

Does a worker have any specific rights? Are they able to organize unions? Employees are viewed as one of the primary stakeholders in a company. Employees have a right to protect themselves through the creation of labor unions, which are a group of employees that organize to protect their work interests and rights.

In this lesson, you will learn about a worker's right to organize unions. In addition, you will learn the steps in establishing a union and about labor relations between management and unions.

History of Union Development

In the 1950s, the formation of unions was a popular business activity. Nowadays, one in ten workers belongs to a union, but there is a change in who is unionizing. For example, traditionally, blue-collar and government employees were found to favor unions. Now, though, the idea of union formation has extended to white-collar positions, such as engineers and doctors. In fact, the largest union that exists is the NEA, or National Education Association, which consists of 3.2 million teachers.

Process of Organizing Unions

The establishment of unions follows a 5-step process. We are going to follow a group of circus clowns who want to start a union with the guidance of the United Clown Workers. Here is how they accomplished the task:

Step One - Build an organizing committee

The clowns contacted their local clown union, the United Clown Workers (UCW), and were told they needed to create a committee that would manage the process of unionizing. In addition, they needed to collect information about their fellow clowns in regards to titles, positions, and responsibilities.

Step Two - Determine issues

The newly formed organization committee then took over and moved on to formulating the goals for the new union and the plan for handling issues, such as low pay, poor clown horn equipment, and loss of circus jobs to overseas clowns.

Step Three - Hold an authorization card drive

Every union has to have an authorization card drive, where potential members are solicited to sign a membership card acknowledging that they would like to be part of a union. Sixty percent of overall employee card signatures is usually the number a union seeks in order to have an excellent chance at full union formation. The clown leadership group also has to spend time campaigning to coworkers and explaining the benefits of unionization.

Step Four - Hold a union election

The signed cards are forwarded to the NLRB, or National Labor Relations Board, where the clowns petition the board for a union election. The NLRB gives the approval for the union to hold an election. A secret ballot vote is then held by the clown employees, determining the viability of the union. If a majority of clowns vote yes, the union is established. In addition, the circus employer must acknowledge and bargain with the new union.

Step Five - Negotiate a contract

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