Labor Relations is old school HR
For many human resources professionals, labor relations is a part of old school personnel work. Not the kind of stuff we do anymore in a world with social media,talent communities and millennials demanding instant promotions. The place I work doesn’t even have a union, how is going to affect me? You think that it doesn’t because your organization participates in union avoidance activities or are anti-union.
I know, right? I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you could be really wrong.
In the world where labor relations work is still done on a regular basis, it is kind of dark and gritty. Many companies and unions are facing hard times, due to lost business, or the increasing costs of their current labor systems, including wages, benefits and pensions. When it’s tough in the labor world, both sides get polarized, and it goes old school, including strikes, boycotts and lockouts. Labor relations in the HR world is just heating up.
Looking at Current Labor Union Case Studies & Examples
Here’s a look at a few current labor situations that have gone into the red zone. Some of these examples you may have heard of, others not so much. Click through the attached links for full details on each situation.
- The NFL has locked out their regular season referees, and hired replacements to work games in the regular season. The main reasons for this dispute? Money, pension, and work rule requirements.
- The National Hockey League appears to be about 10 days from locking out their own players. The reasons for this dispute? Money, a managements rights clause, and other terms of conditions of employment.
- Workers at American Crystal Sugar have been locked out their jobs for over a year, and a replacement work force has been hired. These workers have rejected contract offers three times. Issues include wages, benefits, work rules and job security. The AFL-CIO International is now involved in the dispute.
- The AFL-CIO is also involved in a couple of other large labor actions: a strike/boycott at Palermo’s Pizza in Milwaukee, which has drawn Costco in as an unwilling participant, and the Hyatt Hurts boycott campaign.
Understanding How Unions Work in Your Workplace is Half the Battle
Regardless of your company’s stance on union or labor relations, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that as HR organizational leaders we are aware of current cases, examples, and trends so that we can adapt in the current workplace and marketplace. Because it’s important to be informed and in the know. I hope your are paying a little bit more attention to your labor relations issues now. They might be sneaking up on you when you aren’t looking!