GMFC Company’s Industrial Relations

Introduction

Employees form a very important component of an organization. As Rothwell (2003) puts it, employees are the most important asset within an organization. This scholar says that the success or failure of an organization will always depend on the quality of employees. In the current society, firms are struggling to ensure that their employees do not get unionized. According to the international labor laws, which are observed in the United States, employees have the liberty to decide on whether to join a union or not. An employer has no mandate to deny his employees this right. However, recent researches have shown that unionization has a negative effect on the productivity of a firm. Firms whose employees have joined unions perform much worse than those whose employees are not unionized.

According to Rainnie (2011), firms whose employees are unionized suffer from stronger bargaining power from the employees. Such employees will be very demanding in terms of salary. They will also demand fully paid leaves quite often. This scholar says that unions waste a lot of time for the employees, especially when good employees get employed in positions of leadership within the unions. Given that they always speak with a united voice, these employees will always have their way whenever they have an issue between them and the management. This creates an environment where the management has no power over the employees. The decision made by the management to help the firm prosper can easily be overturned by the union. This creates two centers of power, with each side struggling for supremacy.

The expansion strategy GMFC has been very ambitious. It has the potential of helping this firm increase its market share in this industry. However, it has to realize that the market it is entering into has strong employees union known to protect the interests of the employees. The United Automobile Workers are very strong in this market. The union is notorious for fighting the management of various firms on any issue that their members raise, irrespective of its relevance in this society. GMFC is looking for an avenue through which it can expand its market share in this industry. This can only be achieved through a team of dedicated employees who are determined to achieve the best result for this company. This firm may not afford to have unionized workers, as this will consume much of their time needed for productivity. The management must have a clear vision of where the firm should be after a specified period of time. Success shall be achieved by having a workforce that is focused on the internal success of the firm, not in external unions.

Determining Size and Location of the New Plant

When starting a new plant, the management should discuss the size and location of this new plant in order to determine its capacity. The size of the new plant will be determined by the needs that the firm have, and the capacity that this new plant can support. According to Palmer (2003), when determining the size of a new plant, the management should always put into consideration the current demand of the market. This scholar says that once the size of the plant is determined, the next important issue will be the identification of the location. There are those sites that are strategically located near the market, the labor force, or raw materials.

Locating the new plant in a town or its suburbs can be very advisable because of the availability of labor. As Lewin (2009) notes, it is easier to find the right workforce both in urban settings and its suburbs. This is because the workforce always moves into urban settings to look for employment. One will be assured of getting both skilled labor and non-skilled workers in the urban centers. Having a large plant in a rural set-up can be very frustrating to a firm. This is because most of the skilled labor is rarely found in such regions. Bringing skilled labor from urban centers to rural places is not very easy. Such an employee would always demand a very high amount of compensation. This would reduce the profitability of the firm. The management of GMFC should put this into consideration.

Staffing Strategies

According to Kuhlmann (2007), one of the main challenges that firms face in the current market is the selection of the right labor force. There are various employees in the labor market. Choosing the right candidate from all the applicants can be a real challenge. Human resource management has the responsibility of selecting the best of the candidates from the applicants. The selection of the candidates for this plant should not only be based on the level of experience and academic qualifications. These are traditional qualifications that may not hold in the current society. In the current world, firms need to go beyond the two factors. The management needs to get the level of knowledge the employee has on current issues such as the emerging technologies, e-marketing, and other emerging trends. The current society also embraces skills and talents. One may not have very high academic qualification, but has a talent that may benefit the firm. Most importantly, managements should always take time to track the record of employees as far as unionization is concerned. A company may not need a politician with a capacity to unite employees against what they feel is incorrect within the firm.

There are employees who have the capacity to use their oratory skills to influence the public to act against the firm whenever their interest is not met.

Getting the past history of an employee in regard to unionization can be very challenging. There is no employee who would start in their resumes that they have been active in the unionization of employees. During their oral interview, such employees would appear very innocent to the management. They will always try not to betray their real self. However, the challenge that human resource management has is to determine the truth without being told by the employee (Yanou, 2012). This may entail making follow-ups from their previous assignments or their former schools. Such institutions would have a full knowledge of the employee. The management can use other referrals to track the general conduct of the employee, especially if the employee is to assume a higher rank within the firm. The junior employees, especially those taken under renewable contracts, may not need a lot of scrutiny. According to Kaufman (2012), when hiring employees for a new plant, it is always good to take them under renewable contracts. This is important because it might be difficult to track record of some employees. By employing them under contract basis, the management would be able to study their characters very closely. This may take some time, say a year or two. After this period, the management would be able to determine the candidates most qualified for each task within the firm.

Benefits for the Employees

According to Friedman (1994), the main reason why an individual would look for employment is to get good remunerations. Employees always form unions because of the benefits they get from their employers. Unionization of employees originated from bullish employees during the industrial revolution. During this time, labor would move from rural settings to urban centers in search for employment. The employers would treat them badly, knowing that they had no alternative but to work in these firms.

Given the nature of human beings, the employees got tired of this molestation. They realized that when united against the employers, they could have their interests taken care of within their working places. This made unionization very popular in the industrialized regions. In the contemporary world, the feeling that the employer has the capacity to dictate and to molest employees still exists amongst employees. This fear may rightfully be founded because some employers are known to frustrate their employees.

They expose them to tough working conditions, poor pay, punishments that they do not deserve, or even deduction of their pay. This creates the need for the employees to form unions. They consider the unions as their deliverance from the possible frustration they may face from the employer. According to Bhagoliwal (2011), employers have the responsibility to take care of their employees if they expect to retain them, or make them stay away from the unions. By forming unions, employees’ effectiveness will be reduced. They will spend most of their time responding to the call of the unions. The management must therefore, ensure that it maintains its workforce satisfied always. The following are some of the strategies that GMFC can use to ensure that their employees are not unionized.

Favorable Income

One of the leading reasons why employees form unions is because of poor salaries and wages they receive from their employers. Some employers give wages that are barely enough to sustain their employees. These employees feel that they are not given what they deserve. Some always get so frustrated that they would always jump into suggestions that would entail their pay rise. The management should categorize employees according to their skills and talents, experience and position within the firm, and their importance to the organization. After identifying these groups, the management should give competitive salaries and wages to the employees. This will help make their mind settled. With good salaries, the employees will not consider unionization necessary. The management will be fighting unionization within the firm. The management should consider offering employees salaries that is satisfactory given the market rates.

Fully Paid Trips to Various Destinations

Employees always appreciate when they are allowed some free time away from their regular duties. This allows them time to regain their strength in their respective jobs. The management should ensure that their employees have regular leaves that are fully paid as demanded by the law. The management should also be flexible enough to offer employees some time off their duties when it is necessary. This time would allow the employees to rest taking care of personal chores. This will make them feel comfortable working with the firm because they have their space to undertake their private duties. The management can organize fully paid trips to various tourist destinations within the country or abroad.

This may be an expensive venture to the organization, but it is a strategy that can work magic for the firm (Venkataramana, 2009). The firm will select a number of employees in various sectors. The selection should be based on excellence in various areas that is assigned to them. This will motivate employees to dedicate much of their time working in their respective fields in order to qualify for the trips. This will increase the competitiveness of the firm in a world that is very competitive. Employees will feel appreciated by the firm, and this may dissuade them from unionizing against the management.

Team Building Seminars and Retreats

According to Barry (2011), the best strategy that a firm can use to manage employees and ensure that they do not form unions is to make the organization itself a union of employees. The management should ensure that employees feel that the organization is a large union of workers all with a focus for bringing success to the firm with a focus to getting a mutual benefit. One of the best ways of doing this is to organize working groups within the organization. Each group will have its own leadership structure, and with specific objectives to achieve. The team leaders will be reporting to the line manager. A department will have several groups depending on what is to be done. The management should create a situation where individual team will be competing within the departments. Then the departments will form team which shall compete based on defined terms. The larger team at the department level will be answerable to the chief executive. This way, the management will be creating a union in itself, with its managers as the union leaders.

Other Rewards

The management can organize for non financial rewards as a way of appreciating and encouraging employees to work harder. Such rewards can be promotions, public praises and such related benefits. Employees would feel appreciated. They will feel that the management is watching their hard work and are always willing to reward them for this. They will feel motivated within their respective departments, and will easily be convinced that the unions are not necessary. The management should also engage the employees in discussion about the negative impacts unions would have in their career (Blanpain & Baker, 2010). The management should organize seminars on how employees can advance their career without jeopardizing the future opportunities of rising to managerial positions. The management should convince them that entering the unions, they will be jeopardizing their chances of being managers. No firm will have a manager who is an activist.

Conclusion

GMFE is operating in a very competitive industry. The firm should be able to organize its internal facilities in order to improve its performance to meet market needs. The management should ensure that its workforce is efficient. In order to achieve this, the management should eliminate any possibility of its workforce joining a union. Unionization is something that affects the performance of a firm. In order to avoid unionization, this firm should engage employees in various motivating activities that would make them consider unionization as being unnecessary. The management should increase the salary of their employees to match the best in the industry. The management should also provide non financial benefits to the organization. This will make employees believe that in this firm, their interests can be taken care of without employee unions.

References

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Yanou, M. A. (2012). Labour law: Principles & practice in Cameroon. Mankon: Langaa Research & Publishing CIG.