If a group of employees votes to be represented by a union, it usually has a significant effect on the workplace and the employer-employee relationship. For example:
- The employment relationship ceases to be “at will,” and employees may only be terminated for “just cause.”
- The employer is prohibited by law from dealing directly with union employees about wages, hours, and working conditions and must deal directly with the union instead.
- Employees tend to go to their union rather than their employer when they have a problem.
- The relationship between the employer and the employees tends to become more adversarial rather than cooperative or collaborative.
- The employer is required to expend additional time, money, and resources to deal with the union, particularly in the area of collective bargaining and grievance processing.
- Supervisory employees are required to become familiar with the collective bargaining agreement and administer it on a consistent basis. Flexibility is reduced and the rules become more rigid regarding employee conduct.