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Human Resource And Management

Impact of Unions, HRM and Government Interventions on Workers’ Rights and Safety

Any successful and effective organization considers the humans as its most valuable assets. The human resource is more important than other resources, like machinery, equipment, materials, and money as in the absence of a competent and skilled workforce, the organization would be incapable to utilize the other resources effectively.

No person can negate the above-mentioned statement. The human rights for safety and protection are necessary for the physical and mental wellbeing of the workforce, to be a provider for the self, family, community and the country as a whole. When an issue arises affecting a vast variety of people, they unite to achieve a common goal, and that is what happened at the beginning of the 20th century. After thousands of deaths and injuries in mines and factories, citizens came together to fight for their basic rights of surviving in the workplace. Following the triangle shirtwaist fire, the department of labor was established in 1913. However, prior to that, there were numerous unofficial labor unions protesting for better working conditions.

Human Resource Management also emerged in the early 20th century but did not have an effective role in the work field till later. The human resources management, the unions and the interventions of the government, all serve the central purpose to protect the rights of the people working. However, all the three approaches deal with the issues in a distinct manner. It is the responsibility of the worker unions to ensure that all the workers are treated equally. Moreover, the responsibility of worker equality also falls on the human resources management staff, the legal services, the social services and even the citizens of the state.

The labor unions were created in the 1900s by skilled workmen, like machinists, ironworkers, miners, etc. Each profession had its own union representing other members in the same work field, presenting issues involving that specific line of work. Labor Unions were frowned upon by employers and businessmen. Strikes were illegal and the employers had the power to fire and discriminate against employees that were taking part in them. At times, the owners would pay a fraction of what other employees were getting paid and that was still legal. The lack of the presence of organization among the workers, along with the suppressive measures of the employers acted as impediments in improving the working environment.

However, the 1911 incident of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire acted as a turning point for the worker unions. Only when it became clear that working conditions were not safe. So, the government stepped in and passed a few safety laws and regulations. It was only then required to have first aid stations, guards, and fire exits in the workplaces.

Roles of the Unions and the Human Resources Management

The union movement has strong beliefs and espouses universal values, living wage, work with dignity, and achievement through collective action. Throughout history, the worker unions have played a vital role in transforming the work conditions for the laborers. The unions have struggled to create work environments that are safe and have been the staunch advocates of introducing legislation and laws to be enforced and monitored by the entities of public health, like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In the past two decades, the number of unions and its member have declined, due to feelings of the younger generations towards them. The generation of today’s world does not value the importance of labor unions, and their role in bringing people together for their mutual benefits and mutual protection. Nowadays, the workers do not have to deal with hazardous conditions and deaths in the workplace. However, there are other issues, like raising the minimum wage and equal and better benefits. Labor unions went on strikes, protested, got fired, and sometimes were paid less just to grant few rights protecting the workers around the country.

With regards to the human resource management, it is the process of recruiting, selecting, provision of adequate induction, orientation, and training, developing the skills, assessing the employees and appraising them, motivating them through certain strategies like benefits and compensation and the maintenance of the safety and health of the employees.

The duties of HRM duties are not merely limited to the hiring of qualified candidates for a particular position, but also include the provision of good quality of working life. HRM makes sure that the company’s employees are satisfied with the workload and the salary and addresses distinctive worker interests. The Human resources management is trusted enough by the employers to make important decisions other than hiring and firing. .the ultimate goal of the HRM is the satisfaction of the employer as well as the employees. If someone is not happy working with a certain company, then her production level is low. Whereas, if she is satisfied with her working conditions, hours, wage, and benefits, then she will invest her time and energy in something worthwhile. It is crucial that employees are well informed of the situation of the labor in the organization. It keeps them busy and the HRM can focus on additional strategies and measures to enhance the trust of the employees in the management. It proves imperative in maximizing the commitment of the workers to the organizational goals. The HRM should actively listen to the concerns and issues of the workers and to properly recognize and reward their achievements, in order to have a successful business running with both employees and employers satisfaction. HRM, just like the labor unions, serves to achieve the wellbeing of the workers but approaches it differently. HRM works from the inside to accomplish the contentment of the employees and the employers. However, certain practices in the workplace requiring the participation of the workers only prove effective in the presence of a union.

The Protection of the Workers in Modern America

The government passes laws to enhance the living conditions for its citizens. The civil liberties and rights are considered in the light of the links between the individual and the state. Sometimes, the government waits for protests and strikes to make a move and pass a law in favor of the citizens. Through our history, in some cases, the government operated a bit too slow, as mentioned before that the department of labor was established only after a disaster happened and lots of lives were lost. Since then, Federal laws were passed to protect workers, prevent accidents, and set minimum wage. An example of these laws is the Fair Labor Standards Act. It served towards the establishment of the maximum number of hours that children can perform labor and also restricted the kind of work that can be performed by children. In today’s America, the law ensures that every worker is paid the wages in accordance with the minimum wages set by the government.

On the same note, the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) played a vital role in minimizing the dangers and risks associated with the workplaces in the United States. The U.S. Congress established the Act for regulating the threats and hazards posed by the workplaces. Similarly, the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act was introduced to eliminate discrimination based on religion, race, gender, and ethnicity. Moreover, the Pay Fairness Act introduced new and enhanced penalties for the people who do not pay women and men equally for the same kind of job.

The labor unions, HRM, and federal laws were established to protect the employees from the employers and now there are also laws protecting the employers from their employees. Workers’ rights and wellbeing are the practices that the society has constructed over time and their implications may vary over time in line with the socioeconomic and the institutionalization conditions. Some of the issues in the workplace in the past century are different than the ones today, but some are still the same, like minimum wage. Employees today are protected in some aspects, but still are not well supported. Nonetheless, labor unions, public health organizations, labor laws, the management structure of the companies and human resources management all play their roles in ensuring the health and safety of the workers. All of them function through community or social networks or by assisting the workers in making appropriate life choices and thus, enhancing the cultural, the environmental and the socioeconomic environments. Therefore, it is true that the workers in the modern workplaces of America are well protected and well supported.



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