Overview of Mainstream Economics, Industrial Relations, and Human Resource Management
Essentially ,Mainstream economics is a branch of economics that focuses on finance, markets, demand and supply concepts of the economy and government functions whereas industrial relations addresses the employment relations between employer and employee. Particularly, human resource management addresses the human aspects of economic activities while the institutions of unions is studied under Critical labor relations. Under mainstream economics, workers voice impacts on the prices of public goods and services thereby likely to boost efficiency, productivity at the work place. Also, due to the workers voice in unions through collective bargaining, better employment terms for workers is attainable. Industrial relations are in support of unions and workers voice at the workplace. Under labor relations, employee voices are encouraged. Under human resource management, workers voice can be in terms of participation in the decisions of the company to which few workers are actually involved in managerial decision thus making the workers voice not so active in human resource. Critical labor relations is a huge supporter for worker participation in unions as it offers protection to employees.
The American labor system is governed by the National Labor relations Act (1935), The Taft-Hartley Act, (1947) and the Landrum-Griffin Act (1959). Predominantly, the National Labor relations Act seeks to uphold the rights of employers and employees, boost collective bargains and restricting some private sector practices harmful to worker welfare and economy. Owing to the corrupt nature of previous labor Unions, the enactment of the Landrum-Griffin Act in the year 1959 was implemented to address this specific vice. Under the Taft-Hartley Act, some union activities are prohibited. Majorly, the Act seeks to restrict union obligations, addresses dispute resolution framework and in the process boosting the rights of individuals and employers. The Taft-Hartley Act prohibits 6 labor practices which it considers unfair. Specifically Section 8(b) of the Act restricts 3 employer activities which it considers unfair to the employees. Particularly Sec 8 (b) 4, union members are prohibited from participating in boycotts which are considered secondary. Also, strikes are prohibited by union members.
In addition, changes precipitated by closed shop agreements are restricted under the union. Predominantly, the Landrum-Griffin Act addresses the internal conduct of labor unions .It seeks to promote high responsibility and ethical standards for both employers, organizations and officials. Predominantly, public sector laws affect workers in government institutions whereas private sector laws affect workers in private investment institutions. Under public labor laws, there is limited workers voice as compared to private sector laws. Also, private employees have right to join unions as compared to public workers.
Comparison of Labor Laws in the United States and Canada
The American labor relations and management system suffers from distrust and division between employees and employers thus it is hard to effect positive collective change. Usually, employees tend to be defensive against the acts of their employees and vice versa thus giving rise to disunity. Also, bureaucracies involved in changing the working schedule at the workplace make it difficult to effect changes at the workplace. Also, lack of consensus as to what changes to be effected at the workplace makes it difficult to achieve workplace flexibility. Due to the subordination relationship between employers and employees, it is difficult to achieve flexibility. Typically, employees consider their employers as the enemy and not a supportive partner which mentality prevents them from working together. Also, the opposition from employers as to the flexibility of working hours is a huge obstacle towards this achievement.
Notably, there are various common labor relations factors between Canada and the United States of America. Particularly, both labor unions share common goals, beliefs and organizational frameworks. Equally, American and Canadian laws require that secret voting systems for the certification of Union movements. For American Unions, it is a mandatory requirement for secret voting before certification .In both America and Canada, the Union are governed by legislation put in place by their respective government. However, for some Canadian companies might require employees to forcefully join unions and pay equivalent fees without the secret vote requirements. Both American and Canadian unions seeks to protect the rights of employees. In addition, both unions require that the employees financially contribute to the union expenditure with certain exceptions.
Despite the above similarities, American and Canadian labor unions have disparities in the conduct of their affairs. Under Canadian laws, workers do not necessarily have the option of joining unions due to the fact that the employment terms have the option of mandatorily prescribing that employees join Unions .According to some opinions, Canadian labor laws are not very protective of average employees and are viewed to favor unions rather than employee rights. Additionally, Canadian employees are obligated to pay up fees to the union irrespective of union expenditure (Fraser Institute, 2006).Specifically, the Canadian public unions enjoy larger collective bargaining power as compared to the American public sector (Kumar, 1987).Arguably, Canadian unions have considered more successful than the American due to the time invested in organizing new union members from unorganized groups.
The American union system seems to be more friendly and favorable to individual employee rights. This is illustrated by the fact that American employees are not obligated to join unions. Additionally, American employees have the option of not paying union fees that do not directly impact on the collective bargaining power. For some American states, employees have the option of not any paying dues to the unions. This makes the American Union system friendly to the employee rights than the Canadian system. Moreover, American labor relations are insistent on union to observe financial disclosure requirements, which are not optional for such unions .Specifically, American union have to provide clear account of representative expenditure and non-representative expenditure .However, Canadian labor union have no mandatory financial disclosure requirements. American labor laws are centralized as opposed to Canadian labor laws which are decentralized.
Fraser Institute. (2006).The difference between Labor and Unions in the U.S and Canada .Retrieved from https://www.fraserinstitute.org/article/difference-between-labour-and-unions-us-and-canada
Kumar, P. (1987).Organized Labor in Canada and the United States: Similarities and Differences .Retrieved from http://irc.queensu.ca/sites/default/files/articles/QPIR-kumar-organized-labour-in-canada-and-the-united-states-similarities-and-differences.pdf