Should Businesses Listen to Labor Unions?
Labor unions are born during the Industrial Revolution when workers had little skills and thus, the entirety of the employer-employee power resides on the owner of the businesses. Back then, workers were subjected to low wages and risky jobs. As a result of these abuses, the first labor groups were formed by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and several other brotherhoods. These groups aim to find a middle ground; for both the employers and employees to achieve what they want.
Externally, employers and employees are coming from two different perspectives. Employers want to save on operational expenses so the margin of profit will be higher. Employees want to earn more, so they can support their families. How can such two opposing sides reach an agreement? Through labor unions, that’s how.
Labor groups play a key role in the success of companies and the contentment of workers. Once you look into the core of what these two sides want, you’ll them wanting the same thing — for the company to thrive. Employers want the company to grow, so they can recuperate the money they spent on it while employees want companies to thrive when they believe they will be compensated better.
Why This Relationship Matters
Health care institutions work all the time with different patient advocacy groups. This helps them understand the policy issues that patients face when it comes to addressing their medical conditions. These insights allow health facilities to adjust their own policies and come up with better guidelines to benefit the stakeholders. This kind of relationship is what businesses and labor groups need to establish. The mutual benefit should be on top of the agenda.
Learn to Empathize With Employees
One of the most important traits of an employer is empathy. Employers need to empathize with employees and the varied problems they face at work and home every day. Workers don’t just go to the office to work. They have a life other than what they do for your company, too. Many times, employers tend to forget that they do not own their employees. Rather, they own a portion of their day but even then, they should think about their well-being as this has an overall impact on their lives.
Labor unions allow employers to see their employees from a different perspective. Sure, you’re a good boss. You say the right thing. You do not think you are too strict. But the question is are you paying them enough? No matter how amiable of a boss you are, if your employees are not well-compensated, they will be disillusioned and will want to protest against you.
Find a Common Ground
Employees sometimes don’t understand that in most businesses, the money is simply revolving. Even as they take care of the accounts and see profits, that doesn’t always mean the business owners are recuperating their capital. Instead, they will need to use that money to upgrade equipment, retrain employees, pay the benefits of the retired, and so much more. Your employees might think that you’re keeping money away from them when you’re barely making it through every month.
Listening to labor unions allows you to speak your mind, too. If they can make their presentations about why they think they deserve a raise, you can do that, too. You can let them in on a secret; that you haven’t been making a profit for the past few months or even years.
Benefits to Make Employees Stay
Have you often wondered why your business cannot retain employees? Are you having a hard time recruiting top talents? Take a look at the recent demands of labor unions. What do they want? These are the same things that most employees want from a company. The list has always been pretty basic. They want a livable wage rather than a minimum wage. They want health and retirement benefits, as well as fair working hours and more protection.
It Is Worth It to Listen to Labor Unions
A common misconception is that labor unions and employers can’t see eye-to-eye because they come from different perspectives. While partly true, it is also true that they want the same thing — what is good for the company. Employees, though demanding better wages and benefits, also don’t want the companies they work for to close down. After all, if they do, where else will they find employment in such a bad economic climate?
As with anything, communication is the key to resolve disputes and arguments. When there’s an impasse in the relationship, go back to the negotiating table and if possible, don’t leave until both parties learn to compromise. Misconceptions always arise between employers and employees, but you only need to look at some of the most successful labor unions such as those of athletes’ groups to realize that a bargaining agreement is possible.