Unions and Their Role in Labor Relations

Topic: HR Management
Words: 686 Pages: 2

People’s perceptions of quality of life are diverse and difficult to standardize. It should include economy, politics, society, demographics, and living conditions. The development of market relations is a factor in improving the quality of human life in society, and trade unions can be factors in the transformation of the economy (Ahlquist, 2017). For developing countries, trade unions are vital because they play a significant role in the working environment.

The Unions from Different Perspectives

The unitary approach is in unions’ interest to emphasize common goals, rallying employees around them. Authority, leadership, and control are the preferred means of describing managerial prerogative, and power is ignored. The unitary view sees conflict as a rare and short-lived phenomenon that the proper management actions can eliminate (Pulliam, 2019). The idea of a team is often more attractive than a chaotic political system that tends to move in many directions simultaneously.


The union is a coalition with a temporary interest in the formal goals of the organization. The interests of the employees and the group are different. Pluralism sees power as an essential variable: it is how conflicts are resolved or mitigated (Kaufman et al., 2021). Conflict is an intrinsic characteristic of organizational activity and emphasizes its potentially positive or functional aspects (Ackers, 2021). Conflict can stimulate self-reflection and challenge conventional wisdom, although it can be painful for the organization.


The radical viewpoint is the critical view of an organization and sees it as a battleground of competing interests to achieve incompatible goals. Radicalism considers power as a critical feature of the organization due to the class divisions (Mosimann et al., 2019). For radicals, conflict is inevitable and part of a more significant conflict that will eventually change the entire structure of society (Rathgeb, & Klitgaard, 2022). Conflict can be suppressed and is often an implicit rather than explicit property of community.

The Impact of Unions on the Work Environment

A positive role of trade unions is to create ways to protect employees through collective bargaining and work and rest arrangements. Protection allows employees to win workplace disputes and be freer to make decisions (Council of Europe, 2022). The union is vital in resolving difficult situations involving social and personal conflicts between the employer and employees (Marino et al., 2019). In addition, due to its ability to manage funds, a union gives employees an advantage in winning disputes over management behavior.

The negative role of unions can undue influence working conditions: rest and work restrictions result in fewer earning opportunities. In addition, because the union can redistribute funds, staff often cannot choose their ways of compensation in conflicts (Kochan, & Kimball, 2019). It is also worth noting that the lack of a warning system and mandatory strikes can only increase competition (International Labour Organization, 2021). Meanwhile, personal conflict in radical and unitary organizations may be overlooked.

The current role of unions is steadily growing in European countries and gaining strength in America. The number of union members is increasing because of the coverage of the positive aspects of unions (Nkirote, & Kiiru, 2018; van der Meer, 2019). At the same time, Zimbabwe has seen the growth of unions, which has stimulated the economy in the manufacturing industries (Ncube, & Oni, 2020). Although the brutality of the economy has limited their activities, pluralist organizations with shared interests and sensitivity to individuated working conditions are expected to flourish shortly (ITUC, 2021). Trade unions are expected to accelerate the economy’s adaptation to new social trends and improve the overall quality of life.


Thus, unions are organizations that can promote labor and market relations, improving the quality of life. The unitary point of view focuses on cohesion around a common goal. The pluralist proposes achieving each purpose of employees if they contribute to fulfilling the standard plan. The radical idea takes a critical perspective and points to struggle as an essential condition for the organization’s work. The positive role of unions can be seen in protecting employees in the event of conflict and the negative part is related to union commonality and unitarily, which can create barriers to conflict resolution.


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ITUC. (2021). A trade union focus on the SDGs. Zimbabwe. ITUC. Web.

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Nkirote, N., & Kiiru, D. (2018). Influence of selected trade unions activities on performance of public universities in Kenya. International Academic Journal of Human Resource and Business Administration, 3(4), 174-206. Web.

Pulliam, M. S. (2019). The exploitation of labor and other union myths. The Independent, 24(3). Web.

Rathgeb, P., & Klitgaard, M. B. (2022). Protagonists or consenters: radical right parties and attacks on trade unions. Journal of European Public Policy, 29(7), 1049-1071. Web.

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