Workers in many organizations are fighting for the right to be heard, since they believe that their voice should be perceived as a fundamental human right. Employees should be allowed to speak their minds concerning how they would like to be treated in their workplaces. Their voice is paramount in making decisions that involve their responsibilities. No single channel for voice can meet the demand of all employees, but the most appropriate approach in offering employee a voice is to allow diversity and complementarity within voice systems (Wilkinson, 2014). Employee voice is vital in enhancing their freedom while at work.
Apart from being a human right, allowing employee to air their voice can enhance productivity. American workers should be allowed to air their voice, which can help in influencing the productivity in their respective workplaces (Lazonick & Huzzard, 2014). Voice enables workers to quit their jobs if they feel that their needs are not met. By joining labor unions, workers can counter negative psychological effects that could be demonstrated by the organization owners. In exchange of voice, employers can benefit from initiatives and innovation from workers.
Although labor unions have been critical in protecting the rights of workers since the eighteenth century, they are losing their relevance in the contemporary workplaces. Unions are becoming inapt due to globalization, as well as demographic changes that result from migration and the aging workforce (Guppta, 2016). Besides, labor economists have realized that the cost of violating some of the labor regulations is much smaller than paying union wages (Walker & Vatter, 2015). The dwindling of collective bargaining between organizations and state governments has compromised the industrial relations.
Unions are manifestations that organizations are not motivating their employees effectively through human resource management policies. Thus, if organizations are capable of meeting all the needs of employees, the essence of labor unions would be reduced significantly. Structural changes that have been experienced in advanced economies have led to the decline of labor union membership, as most organizations have turned to machine labor to replace human labor. Globalization has also made it difficult for unions to instill regulations concerning employees’ responsibilities while a rise in service sector and change in government policies has made the work of unions seem irrelevant.
Labor unions represent workers in various industries, and such unions are recognized by the U.S. labor law as centers for collective bargaining concerning working conditions and employee benefits. However, union membership in the U.S. is on the decline since WWII (Walker & Vatter, 2015). One of the reasons for the decline is that federal employment law has superseded traditional union roles, where new laws have been implemented to curb employment discrimination, as well as establishing safe and healthy workplaces.
Loss of institutional, as well as political backup for the labor movement has led to the decline in union membership. In particular, the private sector, which is driven by profits, has resisted union members, who have become a liability to their operations (Walker & Vatter, 2015). Unions reduce profit margins owing to numerous demands that interfere with employee productivity. Additionally, the current generation of workers is not interested in unions because it has does not have adequate knowledge about unions, and neither has it served under unions’ leaders. Thus, the principle cause of decline in labor unions is due to lack of workers’ support, rather than employers’ anti-union attitudes.
Guppta, K. (2016, Oct. 12). Will Labor Unions Survive In The Era Of Automation? Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kaviguppta/2016/10/12/will-labor-unions-survive-in-the-era-of-automation/#7f61805b3b22
Lazonick, W., & Huzzard, T. (2014, March 6). Why Everyone Does Better When Employees Have a Say In The Workplace. Alternet. Retrieved from http://www.alternet.org/economy/why-everyone-does-better-when-employees-have-say-workplace
Walker, J. F., & Vatter, H. G. (2015). History of US economy since World War II. New York, NY: Routledge.
Wilkinson, A. (2014). Handbook of research on employee voice. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.