The Future of Union

The Future of Union

The Future of Union


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Write a 3–full-page analysis about the role of unions in the twenty-first century.Some argue that the traditional role of the union in protecting the worker has been usurped by significant legislation protecting the worker against discrimination, unsafe work conditions, and unfair pay. Others point out that unions remain indispensable for several reasons, including that “at-will” employment remains the law of the land and that most workers can be fired for any reason.SHOW LESSBy successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

Competency 1: Develop a foundational understanding of employment law and labor law.

Analyze the impact of historical context on union-management relations.

Competency 2: Analyze the application of legal thinking strategies to human resource management (HRM) law.

Analyze the role of labor unions in contemporary American business and manufacturing.

Competency 3: Apply legal thought to human resource (HM) practices in the workplace.

Assess how the presence of a union impacts the job of a human resources professional.

Competency 4: Communicate in a manner that is scholarly and professional.

Communicate in a professional manner, using scholarly resources that support the analysis through clear, concise, well-organized, and grammatically correct writing that incorporates appropriate APA style conventions.

Competency Map

CHECK YOUR PROGRESSUse this online tool to track your performance and progress through your course.

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“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (Marx & Engels, 1888).SHOW LESSThe three primary federal laws regulating union activity are the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) (1935), also known as the Wagner Act; the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) (1947), also known as the Taft-Hartley Act; and the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (1959), also known as the Landrum-Griffith Act. These acts reflect the attitude of the times in which they were enacted, regarding unions and the power struggle between unions and management.Historically, the legislation, laws, and labor movements at both state and federal levels have experienced periods of harmony and conflict. A study of union history shows how legislation and lawmaking can be affected by popular opinion. In the early nineteenth century, it was not uncommon for any group employee action to be labeled a criminal conspiracy. The change in the view of the law from a focus on association to the means affected to achieve an objective occurred with the decision in Commonwealth v. Hunt (1842). This case was considered a milestone in the labor movement; however, it did not settle the legal issues, and the courts continue to struggle with the legality of union activities. The public view of the violence and unrest accompanying labor actions was often that employers were responsible, particularly in cases where strikebreakers were hired. Public sentiment and unsatisfactory common law led to the passage of the NLRA in 1935.The Assessment 5 Context document contains additional information about labor relations, covering the following topics:

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA).

Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA).


Commonwealth v. Hunt, 45 Mass 111 (1842).Marx, K., & Engels, F. (1888). The communist manifesto. London, UK: Penguin Classics.

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As you prepare to complete this assessment, you may want to think about other related issues to deepen your understanding or broaden your viewpoint. You are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of your professional community. Note that these questions are for your own development and exploration and do not need to be completed or submitted as part of your assessment.SHOW MORE

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The resources provided here are optional. You may use other resources of your choice to prepare for this assessment; however, you will need to ensure that they are appropriate, credible, and valid. The MBA-FP6249 – Organizations, Governance, and the Law Library Guide can help direct your research, and the Supplemental Resources and Research Resources, both linked from the left navigation menu in your courseroom, provide additional resources to help support you.

Capella Resources

Assessment 5 Context.




The NLRA established the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to regulate labor management disputes. The NLRA forbids an employer from interfering with or restricting employees wishing to organize, bargain collectively, or participate in concerted activities. The employer may not interfere with the formation of any labor organization or discriminate in a way that would discourage participation in a labor organization. It may not retaliate against an employee who files charges or testifies under the NLRA, and may not refuse to bargain collectively with the employee’s representative.


In 1947, Congress, under pressure to curb the increasing power of unions, passed the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA). The LMRA focused on stopping unfair union practices. The LMRA “forbids unions from coercing or restraining employees in exercising their rights” (SHRM, 2008) under the NLRA. Employees have the right to select their representatives for bargaining or adjustment of grievances. Unions cannot cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against an employee or encourage a work stoppage in order to gain advantage in union matters, or charge excessive fees to employees and employers. If the union is the collective bargaining agent of the employees, it cannot refuse to bargain in good faith (Labor Management Relations Act, 1947).


In an attempt to balance the interests of employees, employers, and unions, Congress passed the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). The statute imposes a code of conduct for all parties and requires a standard of fair dealing. The NLRA is built on the premise of the bargaining unit. For the purposes of NLRA, the bargaining unit is a group of employees who perform similar work and have similar interests with regard to pay, hours, and workplace conditions. A bargaining unit is made up of job classifications, not individual workers. It may be a unit spanning different companies or only part of one company (Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act, 1959).There are three types of unionized work situations: the open shop, the agency shop, and the union shop. The LMRA did away with the closed shop, in which only union members could be hired.

The open shop does not require a worker to join the union or pay dues. This is the situation in right-to-work states.

The agency shop does not require the worker to join the union, but does require dues, whether or not a worker is a member.

The union shop requires the worker to join the union within a period of time. In this situation, only the employer may fire the worker.

Due to the LMRA, a worker can pay dues, not join the union, and not be fired (Labor Management Relations Act, 1947).


Commonwealth v. Hunt, 45 Mass 111 (1842).Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. 401–531 (1947).Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959, 29 U.S.C.A. 401 et seq. (1959).National Labor Relations Act of 1935, 29 U.S.C. 151–169 (1935).Society for Human Resource Management. (2008). National Labor Relations Act of 1947. Retrieved from…


Capella University Library Resources

National Labor Relations Board v. General Motors Corp., 373 U.S. 734 (1963). (Focus area: Curbing the notion of closed shop.)

Otani, A. (2013, July 15). Hostess Twinkies return to stores, but unionized jobs disappear. Christian Science Monitor.

Von Bergen, J. M. (2013, August 1). Union fights Verizon for shore phone lines. The Philadelphia Inquirer, B01.

Lewin, D., Keefe, J. H., & Kochan, T. A. (2012). The new great debate about unionism and collective bargaining in U.S. state and local governments. Industrial and Labor Relations Review, 65(4), 749–778.

Kochan, T. A. (2011). Rethinking and reframing U.S. policy on worker voice and representation. ABA Journal of Labor and Employment Law, 26(2), 231–248.

Boulanger, M., & Kleiner, B. H. (2003). Preparing and interpreting collective bargaining agreements effectively. Management Research News, 26(2–4), 193–199.

Dannin, E. (2008). Not a limited, confined, or private matter–Who is an “employee” under the National Labor Relations Act. Labor Law Journal, 59(1), 5–15.



Use the Capella University Library and/or articles found in the Resources to support your analysis with at least two current, scholarly, or professional resources for this assessment.


Write a 3–4-page analysis about the role of unions in the twenty-first century; include the following:

Analyze the impact of historical context on union-management relations. How does historical context provide clues as to the direction of union/management relations?

Analyze the role of labor unions in contemporary American business and manufacturing. Do the role and purpose of the modern union need to be redefined to effectively serve its membership?

Assess how the presence of a union impacts the job of a human resources professional. What influences do unions have on HRM?

Your analysis is to be written coherently to support a central idea with correct grammar, usage, and mechanics as expected of a business professional. Support your response with citations from relevant readings and use real-world organization examples to demonstrate the importance of the concepts and analysis you have provided.


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The Future of Union


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