Article Reviews: A Sock in the Eye for Labor
“A Sock in the Eye for Labor” (December 17, 2001, p. 44)
The recession and economic fallout in the world that has left so many Americans worried has also affected Las Vegas. During a gathering held in September 11, 2001, in AFL-CIO’s convention the president John Sweeney expresses that the country needs to impose labor movement to in order to reduce effects of the recession. The labor president Sweeney states that unions are faced with the challenges and responsibility of improving the labor environment to all groups in the country. Out of the 760,000 job cuts announced from September 11, Sweeney points out that more than 50%were workers who were union members. Of the remaining workers in the work force 13.5% do not work under the laid down United States workforce organization. Most workers that were laid off during the recession are those that worked in dense or busy industries such as hard-hit airline, aerospace industries and manufacturing industries. These are industries with the largest number of unions, union activities as well as union membership. The negative effects of the recession has continued being experienced for a long period of time due to the fact that laborers are still not embracing the work of the unions. Even with the multiple improvements of union activities such as revising remunerations and working conditions workers are still reluctant to be active in unions.
The article focuses on the importance of different employee and labor relations by highlighting different functions of labor unions. During the recession several workers were laid off and these affected not only the workers but the entire industry. Unions under the employee and labor relations are charged with the responsibility of harmonizing different stakeholders in the industry, handle grievances and performance management. By doing this they are able to harmonize and build respectful working conditions which can build the economy back from 2001 recession crisis.
“Shaking up Trade Theory” (December 6, 2004, pp. 116-120)
For many years, debates on globalization and how it would impact on American’s economy have been constantly held. For decades now, economists wait patiently to see what the global boon will do to the American entrepreneurs. The most notable effect of globalization is the availability of cheap-labor in some countries such as India and china. This has attracted many United States companies to relocate their operations to India and China or in other cases they outsource labor from these countries. However, even though these companies are benefiting from the cheap labor they are also losing potential market of their product due to over dependence on this outsourced labor. We find that most customers even those from India and China countries still prefer to purchase from companies based in United States since it is assumed these countries high quality products with the help of skilled workers from United States. It is actually true that even with the rise of globalization United States has continued to have competitive advantage over other countries even those that have adequate raw materials and cheap labor.
Globalization is likely to benefit United States labor sector more than it hurts. Even though there is a swift from expensive skilled workers in the United States to the cheap labor in China and India the target market still pay attention to quality and competition. United States workers and labor departments focus on white collar workers to ensure they are well trained to attain high quality and maximum utilization of resources. The article also reflects that cheap labor compensation is low compared to the amount of work expected from them. While for skilled workers the labor relations are well aliened to provide consistence, professional and timely services.
No Solidarity for Labor
The article provides a detailed look into disputes currently affecting the labor force and the major unions representing American workers, as well as how such disputes were threatening to derail the passage of two key bills: the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), as well as the bill targeting Healthcare reform. Orey and Sasseen posit that this lack of unity between the SEIU and Unite Here, in part precipitated by the quitting of Raynor, to join a significant (100,000) number of workers in the SEIU potentially provides a banana skin for democrats in marshalling political support for EFCA, opening loopholes that could be used by bug businesses to scuttle the passage of the act, hence denying employees the opportunity to further strengthen their unions. The article also raises the important question of the need for revisions prior to the passage of the act to safeguard certain key aspects like the practice of the secret ballot in the election of union officials, which were threatened by the bill. The authors proceed to suggest ways through which President Obama could remedy some of the problems impeding the passage of the bill, posing that making friendly appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, could result in quicker resolution of the problems facing the unions, hence resulting in more collective bargaining.
The article provides a glimpse into the politics that may at times threaten the welfare of employees, as well as limit their ability to be heard, effectively negating on their ability to bargain for their own welfare. It also highlights the fact that employers usually have a key role to play towards ensuring that petty politics do not derail efforts that aim at improving the welfare of their employees. Further, the article highlights the fact that for businesses to work effectively, the unity of its employees is key, hence the need for employers and businesses to actively participate in the organization of their employees.
The Decline of Germany
The article explores the declining state of Germany’s economy as of 2003. The author poses that despite public presentations of stability such as the Chancellor’s impressive new residence, the economy is anything but stable, having been in stagnation for more than a decade at 1%. Further, the article poses that the Chancellor’s crude anti-United States crusade, depicted through his opposition to President Bush’s invasion of Iraq, is not helping the situation. As such, the position of Germany as the leading economy in Europe was under threat, which in turn threatened to derail the common currency, considering that the German currency served as the denominator of the Euro. This threat to the German economy, to relegate it to insignificance, the author poses, would precipitate an exodus of the brightest German minds to stronger and more dynamic economies. The author argues that if the administration does not change tact and become more flexible in its foreign policy, Germany could become irrelevant. The blame is however not only with the top brass, as seemingly the country is wired to resist change and is anti-reform. Further, the article posits that due to fear of the reactions from its labor force, the administration is seemingly afraid of implementing changes. The aversion to change also extends to the political class, who seemingly are not ready to enact legislation that could see the economy improve and Germany return to significance. Failure to change and address the issues according to the article, could lead to a slide to irrelevance for Germany.
For business, the article highlights the need for an organization to remain relevant within its market of operation. In order to remain relevant, the organization must also ensure that it is not averse to change, with the management constantly keeping a watchful eye on aspects that need changing, as well as important performance indicators. On labor and employee relations, the article highlights the fact that in cases where an organization suffers decline, the situation is likely to be worsened by the loss of its best employees. Further, based on the example of Germany the political environment within which an organization operates seemingly affects its economic performance. Management must therefore remain sensitive and alert to any changes that might affect economic performance. Finally, management must also be prepared to make difficult choices for the benefit of the business, ensuring it refuses to be arm twisted or black mailed by its work force.