Labor Laws and Unions

In this paper I will briefly give background information on Union Pacific Railroad. Identify any legal issues and obstacles that Union Pacific may have or encounter. Discuss if any federal, state, or local laws were broken because of the legal issues and why. I will also provide recommendations to minimize any litigation.

The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 was approved by President Abraham Lincoln, it also provided the construction of railroads. Union Pacific Railroad is a transportation company chartered by Congress to build the nation’s first transcontinental railroad line. Because of the Pacific Railroad Act, Union Pacific was approved to build a line west from Omaha, Nebraska to California-Nevada line, there it was to join with the Central Pacific RR, which was being built at the same time from Sacramento, California. Each company after completion of the railroad was to be granted 6,400 acres of public lands. The Union Pacific Railroad has their headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska. Union Pacific Railroad is the leading railroad system in the United States.

The Company has employees of more than 45,000, and operates at least 9,000 locomotives on 32,000 miles of track across 23 states in central and western United States. Union Pacific has purchased a large amount of railroads. Union Pacific’s main competitor is BNSF Railway. Union Pacific is one of the most powerful railroads in the country. It is much older than any other American Class I railroad. The railroad has become one of the most highly respected institutions in the nation and also has seen nearly every railroad event in our country’s history.

Unionization Process

A union is an employee union that is covered by law to develop and secure employee wages, benefits and work settings. The coming together of employees gives them the opportunity to get reverence and equality in the workplace and a say that can change employer decisions. When employees come together they will have more authority to make helpful modifications and gain securities on the job then they would by themselves. There are five basic steps in the unionization process:

  1. Know your legal rights – The National Labor Relations Act gives workers the right to:
    – When they are not at work attend meetings
    – Talk about the union
    – Distribute union literature as long as it is at break or lunch time
    – Show support for union by signing a card or petition
    – Ask others to support the union
  2. Gather InformationGather as much information as you can about where you work. Find out what issues you and your co-workers are facing. Get your co-workers contact numbers.
  3. Build Your Own UnionDepending on the workplace efforts, to form a union may vary, but the best way is to makeemployees take control of the development on their own. The team will assist in building astrategy that is comfortable for your co-workers. When building a union you will need anOrganizing Committee that can make sure you succeed at forming a union. The OrganizingCommittee will educate co-works about the assistances of unionizing and their privilegesunder the law, this will motivate co-workers to be confident when they take action, and help plan a successful strategy.
  4. Make Your Union “Official”When the negotiator is able to demonstrate a solid majority backing to create a union, you can mark your union official. There are many ways this can be done contingent upon thekind of workplace. One way is to request the National Labor Relations Board, to hold asecret ballot election. Another way to gain official union recognition is to have youremployer be on familiar terms with the union.
  5. Win a Strong Union ContractOnce you win recognition it does not stop there. The next step will be to win a fair contract. When the union is certified the employer has to reason in honesty with theunion to create a legitimate joining agreement concealing all parts of employment. Theunion will then select a bargaining team and select what adjustments and enhancementsyou would like to suggest to the employer. Approval of the finishing contract will bedetermined by the negotiator.

Bargaining

A union does not use persuasive words because they are not enough to win well contracts. Usually, bargaining is conducted by using the same principles as the contract campaign. The negotiating team should be active trained members, so that management can be reminded of the organized power of workers. This also reminds workers that they are the union and that bargaining is conducted by them and not for them. The negotiating team’s bargaining strategy should be based on goals with an understanding of management’s objectives, strengths, and weaknesses. There is always timing and choice of tactics when it comes to bargaining discussion should be related to worksite activities, community action, publicity, and economic pressure.

The negotiation team has to build pressure away from the bargaining table that is appropriate for what is going on in the negotiation. Management will try to resist a fair agreement, but members and allies will be more willing to take action. Negotiations will have key points where negotiators have to show they have the support of members and can apply different kinds of pressure such as:

  • Negotiations when proposals were first presented.
  • When negotiations stop because each side is waiting on the other.
  • When negotiations are at the end and major issues are getting ready to be settled.

In order for management and members to take you seriously you need a visible action at the beginning of the campaign. If negotiator does not respond strongly to a challenge from the employer, it will look as if the negotiator cannot fight back, and members will feel that fighting back is a waste of time.

Effects of bargaining

The effects of bargaining include increased wages, bloated pension plans, workforce reductions, and considerations. The wage increase companies pay across the board to their employees is unionized labor. Some employees may be capped at how much they can make in compensation, those employees who perform poorly are given wages above the market rate for their skills and production levels.

Collective bargaining can take the incentives some companies offer to employees who perform poorly to increase their productivity. Labor unions use collective bargaining agreement to make employee pension plans and other benefits. Organizations add higher compensation rates compared to the open market, but most pension and benefit plans increase the cost per employee that organization pay. Most pension plans want organization to pay pension even when employees have been laid off or retired.

When employing unionized workers organizations are unable to reduce the number of available jobs. Organizations have to maintain specific employment levels for unionized workers that have collective bargaining agreements. There are special negotiations that can reduce the workforce when rewarding for lower sales.

In the workplace treating workers with respect and dignity will help employees trust the organization and not become moved to begin a union. Also, offering reasonable compensation and above-average benefit packages is another way to avoid unions. Unions can make organizations fight to make a good advantage in the economic market, this can limit job advancements or benefits organizations can afford to offer employees.

I have briefly given background information on Union Pacific Railroad. I identified legal issues and obstacles that Union Pacific has encountered. I discussed any federal, state, or local laws that were broken because of any legal issues. I have provided recommendations to minimize any litigation.