Labor and management

deepa venkitesh By deepa venkitesh, 12th May 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Business>Starting A Business

Labor management in small business enterprises can be handled easily with the cooperation of the managers and the workers. Any differences of opinion can be sorted out cordially in a small organisation.

Labor management

Managing labor in small business enterprises is not as scary as it may seem. The collective power of unions frightens many business owners. They fear that the unions may force higher wages, delay work through strikes, make unfair demands and ultimately harm the business morally and financially.

It may be beneficial to small business entrepreneurs to be aware of the labor laws. Knowing the rules and legislations can help in dealing with labor problems if they arise. Unions were formed to guarantee protection of the employees. It enforces humanitarian considerations and a right to voice opinion. It gives workers legally enforceable rights.

The National Labor relations Act, enforced by the National Labor Relations Board states hat an employer cannot interfere with the process of unionization once employees have begun it. Unfair labor practices include threatening workers with reduced benefits or firings if they join a union. Threatening workers will only help to increase the bitterness between the management and workers. It is always better to consult the company lawyer before taking action.

The business owner should be careful not to question the integrity of the union leaders. He must be careful not to treat the union workers differently or with grudge. Any differences of opinion may be sorted only with the help of legal advisors. Direct confrontations will only help to worsen the situation rather than solving it.

Weekly meetings and appraisals may help in maintaining the communication between the management and workers. The management can help improve the owner-employee relations through humanitarian approach to problems. Direct talks will help to understand the employee’s claims.

A small business will have fewer employees than a large enterprise. The union will not be a major cause for concern if handled properly. Labor management in small businesses may depend largely on maintaining cordial relationships with the workers.

The National Labor Relations Act restricts unions, stating that they cannot force employees to take up the cause. They may not harass certain union members who are critical of the union or those who refuse to join. Employers have the right to refuse to acknowledge a presentation of union cards and to insist upon a secret ballot election. An election ensures that no employee is forced into joining the union.

When a small business owner decides to recognize a union either directly or after an election, negotiations have to take place in order to agree upon a contract. By law, the negotiations must consider the terms and conditions of employment including wages, benefits and working conditions. A small business is more of a decentralized organization. Negotiations with union members do not always have to be adversarial. Trust and mutual cooperation will help ease any problems through effective communication.

A contract usually has a term of about three to five years. In a small business a contract can be negotiated upon by the employer and employee. When there is a small grievance or conflict, the issue is usually handled informally in a small business. It can be done in the presence of the union representative and management. Personal interactions with the employees may help to work things out easily.

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Unions may add to the cost of doing business. The advantages are that the employees will be happy and the business owner will be respected by the union supporters. Union’s reduce conflict in the workplace. The contract will clearly state the responsibilities of the job. The small business owner may become better at labor management which can help to expand business or increase prospects. Managing labor in small businesses is not a difficult task. The cooperation between the owner and the employees can help to create a conducive environment and thus increase productivity.


Business, Contract, Cordial, Election, Labor, Laws, Management, Owner, Unions, Workplace

Meet the author

author avatar deepa venkitesh
I am a post graduate in sociology and public relations. I write articles and poems.

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author avatar vpaulose
15th May 2011 (#)

Thank you for this informative piece. Thank you Deeps.

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