1) Some states allow university faculty and academic staff members to unionize. What are the key factors that would influence individual faculty and academic staff members' decisions to support (or not) union representation by the AFT?
First, John W. Bud highlights (2013) that employees support unions due to search for “efficiency, equity, and voice”. Efficiency means improving their working conditions. For example, they want increasing their wages and benefits, protection from unfair dismissal. Efficiency for employer is “the productive, profit-maximizing use of labor to promote economic prosperity” (Bud, 2003). Equity denotes equal rights for all employees without any discrimination. Finally, employees are interested in having more voice in workplace decision making. For example, sometimes unions organize protests if they believe that employees or companies in general treat their workers unjustly. Besides, unions are big organizations. For example, AFT has 1.5 million members. Therefore, they have real power to bargain, negotiate and change things that believe are unfair. On the other hand, some academic staff members and individual faculty do not support union representation by the AFT due to several causes. To start with, many of them believe that AFT is a bureaucracy machine, which is not able to fulfill their needs. Secondly, they sometimes blame unions for being corrupted. Finally, many employees believe that unions are too old-fashioned and their methods do not work nowadays. Moreover, many of employees are unions are not capable to change anything. Besides, many Americans believe that companies “have no obligation to provide personal and moral development, and business is not designed to be a “training ground for democracy” (Bud, 2013). There, if employees want to have voice and equity they “need to buy stock in the company and voice their concerns at shareholder meetings” (Bud, 2013), but to unionize.
2) Describe the seven tests of just cause. How do these tests protect the rights of employees?
Budd (2013) describes seven tests of just cause that demonstrate if employer behaves justly with an employee. First, employees must be warned about the consequences of their conduct. For example, if workers are constantly late for work they should be informed than they can lose their work because of this reason. Secondly, the employer’s rules must be reasonably related to business efficiency and performance. Thirdly, investigation must be conducted before taking discipline measures. For instance, a director cannot resign an employee only because somebody said he had seen him or her stealing something in the workplace. The fourth test says that investigation must be fair and objective. For example, employer must interview all people who were present in order to get full picture of a case. The fifth test requires that the investigation must produce substantial evidence and proof of guilt. It means that directors should not dismiss their employees only because of some guesses. They should find facts. The sixth test says that all rules must be applied to all employees without discrimination. For instance, if rules say that working day begins at 9 a.m., it means that all workers have to come at that time without any exceptions. The seventh test states that punishment must be reasonably related the seriousness of the offence and the past record. For example, two employees have an argument. One worker has 30 years job experience with clean record. Another person is a new worker in the company but with many warnings. According to the seventh test, the first employee must have less punishment than the second one. Therefore, the main aim of these tests and at-will doctrine is to protect employees from unfair dismissal. It means that employers must fire people only because unsatisfactory work performance or breaking company’s rules, but not due to other causes (Bud, 2013).
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