Help w/ Essay on Conflict Between Labor and ManagementEssay presenting the conflict between labor and management from the perspective of big business. What did most owners and business manager...

Help w/ Essay on Conflict Between Labor and Management

Essay presenting the conflict between labor and management from the perspective of big business. What did most owners and business manager want?

• My outline identifying the major points of contention between labor and industry.

• A paragraph presenting the conflict from the perspective of labor.

• A paragraph presenting the conflict from the perspective of business.


Expert Answers
dbello eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It could be argued that those who labor for those that have can be traced to the ancient world. All you have to do is look at the history of humanity to realize that. The frame of reference of your question is from the point of management. In the United States, labor/management disputes simmered for years before they boiled over. There is no doubt that big business and the federal government were arm in arm during the latter part of the 19th century.

This is as simple as it gets... The U.S. industrial revolution was unique in that this country's industrial boom met face to face with an immigrant labor force that was unmatched anywhere else in the world.

Did big business in America take advantage????yes....was it right???

In a free market society there are naturally opposing perspectives. Businesses want payroll limited while expecting the most productivity,while workers want to secure their wages, without feeling cheated. This is a contradiction in terms.

The agenda of most labor unions today centers around wages, health benefits, overtime pay, and vacation.

It is an age old argument where by battles have been won and lost on both sides. The irony is that both sides need eachother in a free market economy.

Just a sidebar...( If you can get it rent the film 'Norma Rae') it's a worth while hollywood film...not history...but offers a powerful insight regarding the controversy between labor and management.)


litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that your essay would be strengthened by a hypothetical case or imaginary (or real) case study.  Invent a company and an example of each of your points.  This will reinforce your points and show your instructor that you really do know what you are talking about.

krishna-agrawala | Student

The conflict between labour and management has been in existence for as long as these two separate class of people have existed.

If we think about this issue dispassionately, it is not hard to see that any enterprise is a cooperative effort between these two group of people, and both the groups can benefit best when they work in an atmosphere of mutual trust and support. Unfortunately the reality is often marked by atmosphere of suspicion and conflict.

The main reason for the conflict is that each party overvalues on its own contribution and undervalues that of the other. Managers and owners like to think that their brainpower, entrepreneurship and the capital is the main contributor, while labor like to believe that that their hard physical work is the real contributor.

In addition, to this basic problem of determining what is the equitable division between the labour and management, the relationship between them is also often marred by some opportunistic labour union and other political leaders who like to leverage collective power of labor for improving their own position and power.

frizzyperm | Student

Points of contention -

  • pay,
  • working conditions,
  • benefits,
  • the right to form a union,
  • the right to strike,
  • job security,
  • working hours,
  • worker/management relations.
  • share of the profits

Basically, in a large company, thousands of people work hard and the company makes a profit. This profit is then divided. The workers get a fairly small, fixed amount (wages) and the owners (share-holders) get the rest. But the share-holders did no work for their money. The main struggle of the working class has been a struggle to get a more equal share of the profits produced by their labor.

Perspective of Labor: There is a phrase called a 'wage slave'. We use this phrase to describe a poor worker who works 40 hours a week to make justenough money to pay for rent, food, clothes, petrol, bills etc. But they do not earn enough to have any money left over at the end of the week. In other words, all the wages given to them by the capitalist system are immediately taken away again by the capitalist system. A wage slave invests their whole life in the system but ends up with nothing. All the profits of the system are taken from the worker and given to people in high paying jobs (management) or share-holders. And the worker is unable to pay for advantages for their children, making it almost certain that their children will also be a wage slave. 


frizzyperm | Student


Perspective of Business: The Management and Owners benefit from the profits of business. High-wages and profits from stocks mean that at the end of the week they have a surplus of money. This surplus is placed in a bank account or invested and makes MORE money. So every week they get richer and richer. This means they can send their children to expensive schools and pay for expensive healthcare, which ensures their children will have well paid jobs and also be rich. At the end of their lives, unlike the wage slave, they have made a large profit from the capitalist system. And when they die, that profit is given to their children.

BUT.. they worked 40 hours a week, just like the wage slave! They worked for the same company! They invested the same amount of labor but, because they are management and make the financial decisions, they paid themselves a lot of money and paid the wage slaves only enough to pay for food and shelter in order to keep them alive in order to work.

This is the basic conflict between labor and management.