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Human Resource Management, 3rd Edition by Brown Kenneth G., Stewart Greg L.

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Chapter 13

Working Effectively with Labor

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A MANAGER'S PERSPECTIVE

JOSE SENSES A TIGHTENING IN HIS STOMACH AS HE PULLS INTO THE DRIVEWAY LEADING TO THE FURNITURE MANUFACTURING PLANT WHERE HE HAS BEEN EMPLOYED AS A SUPERVISOR FOR THE PAST SIX YEARS. SEEING THE LINE OF WORKERS CARRYING PICKET SIGNS REMINDS HIM THAT THE DAY AHEAD WILL NOT BE EASY. MANY OF THE PEOPLE CARRYING SIGNS ARE PERSONAL FRIENDS WHO BEGAN A LABOR STRIKE LAST WEEK. THE EMPLOYEES HE SUPERVISES ARE MEMBERS OF A LABOR UNION SEEKING INCREASED PAY AND BENEFITS. SO FAR, MANAGEMENT HAS REFUSED TO MEET THE UNION'S DEMANDS, AND THE TWO SIDES ARE STILL FAR APART IN AGREEING ON A NEW LABOR CONTRACT.

As he inches through the picket line, Jose wonders what the plant would be like without the union. He knows that the national trend has been toward fewer and fewer employees being organized into unions. Jose wonders whether the union has really helped improve life for the plant employees. Are they treated better because of the union? Do they make more money? Does the union offer protection from being fired without cause? Is Jose's own situation better or worse because of unions? What would happen if the workers voted to get rid of the union?

Jose parks his car and walks to his office. As he listens to his telephone messages, he is surprised to hear a message from a newspaper reporter who wants to talk to him. The reporter ...

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