Happiness. Growth. Fulfillment. Many would (and have) defined a career’s innate value not solely by its pay rate, but by how thoroughly it provides these traits. When a consensus of employees start to feel their lives’ satisfactions are eclipsed by poor working conditions, unionization is often floated as a solution. Realizing the benefits of job satisfaction is a process I facilitate daily; in fact, my own job satisfaction relies on managing peace between employers and labor unions.
Many employers may boil or cringe at the mention of unions. I’m pleased to say that my professional endeavors have brought me to a conclusion which, to those employers, might seem like happy sacrilege. Years of turning organizational conflict into solid relations have left me absolutely sure that unions can be beneficial, and not just to the employees represented by the union.
I know associating unions and employers with any mutually positive outcome may seem contradictory at least, so I’ve included a few reasons why unions can be good for organizations on the whole.
Negotiations are Easier
Dealing with a union doesn’t necessarily mean placating a horde of disgruntled employees. Unions will nominate a head person to conduct discussions on behalf of the unionized employees. A lack of labor unions could saddle organizations with the chore of tackling widespread complaints on an individual basis, potentially bringing storms of endless, difficult, and shifting employee demands which drown any possibility of job contentment. On the other hand, union negotiations take place primarily within the union itself. Through union meetings, a single set of requests is agreed upon and, then, presented to employers by union heads.
Change Becomes A Priority
To build status as an industry leader, companies must acknowledge change as a necessity. Formidable competition stays in the game by keeping an updated playbook, and improvement is all but impossible when trapped in a place of stagnancy. By encouraging communication between workers and employers, unions keep the stream of ideas from bottlenecking. Frequent exchanges between unions and employers cement the need for constant improvement in all aspects of business (exterior and interior) fresh in an organization’s mind.
Job Satisfaction Increases the Bottom Line
Unions offer employees a forum for making themselves heard, and being seen as an important, valued member of something good and right: a group that fights for the wellbeing of coworkers. While it’s true that coexisting with a union often means employers may have to pay a bit more or provide better benefits, the satisfaction of added financial security, and the fulfillment of being part of the union that made it happen could greatly contribute to workers’ overall productivity, making the tradeoff more than worthwhile. According to Johna Revesencio of Fast Company, “New research suggests we work more effectively, creatively, and collaboratively when we’re happy at work,” leading to a 12% increase in productivity. This means that better working conditions and CBA’s (Collective Bargaining Agreements) directly contribute to increased productivity, saving employers in the bottom line.
My time as a consultant for unions and employers alike has taught me that job happiness is the most essential ingredient for cooking up a healthy business. I’ve seen countless times how unions contribute to the satisfaction and success of companies who use and work with them.
Stephen Koppekin Consulting provides cost-effective and efficient consulting solutions in the areas of labor and employment. With his expert ability to negotiate and his solution-based mindset, Stephen Koppekin shares his vast knowledge on his consulting website.