Literature Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

Unionized organizations Can Unionized organizations reduce the level of conflict between management and labor, or exacerbate this conflict

Expert Answers info

litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write15,967 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Theoretically, I think that unions can serve as partners with management. I have never heard of a book that really features this though. I'm not sure why this is in the literature category. Most of the union-management relationships in books are confrontational, because that's what makes drama.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Robert C. Evans eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write2,994 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

I would say that they can do both and have done both over the years. Everything depends upon the people leading management and the union. Some folks often seem eager for conflict and intransigence. Some people want to earn reputations as "tough negotiators." Much depends on the economic situation at the time when any particular negotiations take place; unions are less likely to be intransigent when economic conditions are bleak; management is less likely to be intransigent when the labor market is tight.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

wannam eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write1,438 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Science

I'd say that depends on the union and the management as well as the industry that is under review.  I was part of the teacher's union and I think it really helped to avoid conflict between the teachers and the county officials.  Unions can provide a lot of benefits for participants as well.  Sometimes these benefits can take some of the pressure off of the management.  A union might make negotiations easier because the management has a single entity to deal with rather than thousands of individuals.  I think unions have their purpose but I can certainly see the negative aspects of them as well.  One has only to look at some of the recent news about sports unions to see how greater conflicts and stalemates can arise.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mwestwood, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

bookM.A. from The University of Alabama


calendarEducator since 2006

write16,150 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

If anyone has looked into the history of labor before the organization of unions, he/she will realize how they came to be--just reading Upton Sinclair's The Jungle is sufficient for many. However, the problem nowadays is the problem of human nature:  Whenever people become too empowered they become unreasonable.  Major labor unions such as the Teamsters, the UAW (auto workers), the steelworkers, and others have often priced themselves out of jobs as the union members, who are often too short-sighted, vote for increased wages without considering that their company is not making enough profits to afford the increase, or without realizing that the consumer of their product makes much less than they do so that consumer cannot possibly afford their product. Because such workers are short-sighted and selfish, they are certainly the cause of problems for management and the success of a company. This conflict is the greatest one today.

Recent documentaries on the autoworkers' unions have demonstrated on tape that GM employees are sometimes paid without even doing any work; other ridiculous conditions exist, too, such as the employees' smoking marijuana at lunchtime or drinking without any repercussions.  In other words, the union is so strong that it is virtually impossible for a company to fire unworthy employees.  Obviously, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction from the days in which the owners of New York textile factories were able to throw their Irish shopgirls into the machinery if they did not work long hours and suffer the horrible conditions dealt them. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

Typically, I'd say they make it worse.  I'm not saying that they don't do the workers a lot of good, but I do think that having an organization whose whole purpose (in a sense) is to argue with management does tend to increase the degree of conflict.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial