History shows that there has been conflict of power within the workforce between union and management. This essay will discuss if management should have the right to determine whether a union should operate within their workplace. It is necessary first to discuss the roles of unions and management in the workplace and discuss both points of view on the power distribution between unions and management in the workplace.
The rise of industrial age led to the rise of industrial factory systems. As the industries grew larger as well as the workplace, it required more employees. As the employees grew in the workplace, their relationship with the employer became less personal hence individuals lost power. (History of Labor Unions Summary & Analysis, 2014) emphasizes that there was little to nothing an individual could do to pressure a large industrial business to increase his/ hers wages or shorten his/hers hours or provide a better working environment. The increasing migrants in Australia during the 1960’s continually replenished the supply of unskilled workers making it difficult for any employee to attain any leverage in negotiations with their employers. This led to employee’s embracement of collective action which then led to the rise of unions. According to (Burchielli, R 2006) Unions are seen as the power house of employees in the workplace, their role was to give employee a collective bargaining with their employers for better working environment, better wages and benefits such as paid leave. However union membership have decreased over the last couple of decades, according to (Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 2013) in 1986 46 % of employees were members of trade unions by 2007 the figures have dropped to only 19%. There are many factors that have contributed to the reduction of unions such as the change of the industrial environment in 1980s and membership fees increase and the change from majority of employees being casual rather than permanent or part time.
Many unions have lost the employees trust over the past few years, (John W. Budd 2004, p. 103) this article states “Unions are portrayed as powerful organizations, often corrupt, that at best benefit their members at the expense of non-members and the society at large, and at worst really only serve the interests of union bosses”. The reduction of union members can show us that employees are preferring individual bargain rather than collective bargain. The implementation of an award in Australia by the Australian Industrial Relation Commission (AIRC) (Peetz 2006, pg.8) has encouraged more employees, especially casual employees to embrace individual bargaining hence reducing the need of unions in workplace.
There has not been a definite definition of management’s role in a workplace over the year but I think jones & George said it best when they described it as, “the planning, organising, leading and controlling of human and other resources to achieve organisational goals...