Navigating Labor Disputes in Big Companies

The recent situation shows an opposition between usual workers and people in management. One of the greatest reasons for such a permanent fight is the rate of wages. Many individuals from the workforce consider salaries of CEOs and managers overrated, while the amount of money received by working people is inadequate and often shortened. Therefore, it raises a relevant question about whose side to support. The HR department must bear in mind current circumstances and make certain steps paying attention to each existing factor to influence the operations of the corporation correctly. It is crucial to note that the modern economic situation deprives workers’ of the ability to impact their working conditions through labor unions.


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A recession is a negative trend in macroeconomics, often anticipating a crisis. This phenomenon is cyclical and inevitable for any economic system. It does not only cause damage to companies and worsen the economic situation in the country, but also increases the dissatisfaction of people (Flynn, 2011). It leads to the reduction of salaries because of certain companies’ problems, and workers start striking. A strike is an organized collective work stoppage in an organization or enterprise to obtain any requirements from the employer or the government. However, such phenomenon as recession makes labor unions weaker, almost zeroing their influence. Even though the ones and employers are tied to each other, companies find a way to avoid their responsibilities easily and to save maximum profits. That is why, unions lose an opportunity to win some concessions from corporate management. The same situation is present in Mott’s workers’ strike, where people are not so strong to expect all their inquiries approved (“Recession Weakening Labor Unions,” 2010). They see that their wages have been cut, while the management’s share is only increasing, but they can do nothing (Yoshikane, 2010).

In an attempt to protect their rights, workers join such organization as unions. Such action is considered to be smart, respectable, and democratic (Gregory, 2009). Nevertheless, issues of unions’ activity are not always positive. It is no secret that among the methods used by businesses to exert pressure on unions, the manipulation of the public opinion is used through attempts to persuade union activists that their actions are possibly going to be in vain. Leaving the workplaces for striking is not the best decision that one may make. As Robert Callan said, a senior vice president of Dr. Pepper Snapple, even though new workforce adaptation needs time, the company can deal with it (as cited in “Recession Weakening Labor Unions,” 2010). It means that strikers defending their rights may lose their jobs, while other people can replace them by agreeing on offered wages. Under such conditions, workers find themselves in a desperate position and must accept the terms outlined by the corporation as they are.

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In big companies, there is no question about individualities. They take the workforce just like a mass of workers performing their particular duties. These people are barely going to lose their places in such a short period. They can talk about their skills and indispensability, but as the reality shows, they can be easily replaced with others. The reason for this is tough competition in the sphere of human resources. It happens when the supply is as great as it is nowadays. It is crucial in such a situation to fix a tense organizational climate and to endure production.

Strikes may weaken small companies, while big manufacturers can simply ignore disagreements in contrast to the first ones. Therefore, once the Mott’s workers’ strike is over and employees come back to work, the organizational climate will be quite contradictory. There will be a disrespectful attitude and a tense atmosphere, which obviously harden the process of further work. Moreover, after the end of the strike, the plant can change its working climate and relation to workers negatively. People will be at the same job position, but with reduced wages if not absolutely unemployed. The management will treat those worse, showing their negative attitude towards striking.

However, once the conflict with striking representatives of the plant’s union has ended, it is necessary to create a special atmosphere at the workplace. An HR manager should prevent new disagreements and make manufacturing more productive. Punishing measures would hardly be the right way to do it. They will rather lead to new waves of dissatisfaction and contumacy. This delicate situation asks for some stimulating arrangements to make workers motivated somehow in a case when a salary increase is impossible. First, there should be negotiations between usual workers and members of the management. This factor will establish contact and understanding. The system of social awards can be provided. These can include encouraging and acceptance from the authorities. The main thing in the system of non-material motivation is attention to employees. It has to be based on the development of a “gratitude culture,” presupposing appreciation of employees for their work, which, in this case, of course, can often be purely symbolic. To make them evaluate it properly, workers of the Mott plant should consider themselves to be part of company’s high-grade team members on a par with leaders, as well as should identify their personal interests and goals with corporate ones.

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In conclusion, it is common knowledge that the market economy is based on profits and losses, where the acumen and ability of entrepreneurs are measured precisely by obtained revenue. It requires the ones who run businesses take immediate steps. Compromises should be made in any situation to let a company like the Mott plant live for a long time. This responsibility falls on the authorities of the corporation. They should solve conflicts and seek for the best ways to create an advantageous climate for manufacturing. At the same time, employees should always remember how fragile their position is now, despite the activity of unions.

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