Although trade unions are often stereotyped as the enemies of upper management, they are can bring unexpected benefits to employers and corporations where unions exist. While some outcomes can be measured, others are more intrinsic and less measurable. Knowing how to present both sides of the benefits and down sides to employers can help to counter any prejudices that arise when talks of unions begin to take place in a corporate environment.
While there are many factors that affect morale, having a union can help improve morale because the workers have a more unified collective voice to address complaints and receive better benefits and compensation. If the workers know that they are being represented at the bargaining table, then perhaps they may also see their employers as people who will take better care of them as workers.
Another benefit of employers is that the employees will, by nature, be more invested in their work since they have a collective voice speaking for them. If employees are having their voice heard and are receiving ample wages and benefits, then truancy and absenteeism can be expected to drop, thereby increasing production. There will also be a lower rate of turnover, reducing the time and cost of training new employees, which in the end will also increase production and save the company money.
According to the Policy Studies Institute, corporations with unions are more likely than similar non-unionised businesses to successfully implement certain policies. "Flexibility policies" range through reductions in workforce numbers as well as cuts in the management tier. Other accepted policies include certain uses of outsourcing, which can mean the transfer of work to contractors or changing employees statuses to self-employed or freelancers.
In addition to having better retention, employers can also be expected to have a higher range of high performance systems. As a result, a corporation will increase productivity and customer service. Different components of high performance systems that can specifically be affected by the presence of the union may include teamwork, staff incentives, interchangeable employees, continuous training and two-way communication. Additionally, the presence of health insurance means that staff will have better health care coverage, reducing illnesses, sick time and lost production.
Studies show that the presence of unions increase the degree of safety at a workplace, according to the AFL and CIO. According to the American Rights at Work study by Baugher and Roberts, "Only one factor effectively moves workers who are in subordinate positions to actively cope with hazards: membership in an independent trade union." This is because union members have a voice to address job hazards as well as a voice to cope with job stressors.
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