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Most of us work day-in and day-out to make a wage we can live on hoping that our good work will be recognized by our employer and will result in an increase in our wages. We hope that our initiative and drive will move us above our coworkers who are not perhaps as hardworking or talented. This is a version of the “American Dream.” But for approximately 8 million workers they cannot get rewarded for their individual effort, or talent, or initiative.
You see they are union workers who have had their wages negotiated for them by bargaining representatives. The “union” tells workers that they will fight to get them a good wage with some good increases over the life of the contract. Sounds good doesn’t it? But did you know that the “union” also restricts what workers can get paid?
According to an article in The Heritage Foundation “Few Americans know that unions also set a ceiling on workers’ wages: Businesses effectively may not pay individual workers more than the amount bargained for by the union.” What it breaks down to is this.
An employer may not give a union employee a raise for individual effort or achievement. They must give a raise to all the employees in the bargaining unit or to no one. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that giving such an increase to an individual is a circumvention of the authority of the union to be the sole bargaining agent for the employee(s) and thus is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
As an individual who has worked hard all his life to earn a pay check based upon my good work I found this circumstance to be outrageous. Fortunately there are some Congressional representatives that are trying to change that situation with the introduction of the RAISE Act in both the Senate and the House. RAISE stands for Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees. According to an article published on the SHRM website
“On April 18, 2012, Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., introduced H.R. 4385, the Rewarding Achievement and Incentivizing Successful Employees (RAISE) Act, in the House of Representatives. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced companion legislation, S. 2371, on April 26, 2012.”
What this bill does is introduce language to amend the National Labor Relations Act by inserting “…nothing in either section 8(a)(1) or 8(a)(5), or a collective bargaining contract or agreement renewed or entered into after the date of enactment of the RAISE Act, shall prohibit an employer from paying an employee in the unit greater wages, pay, or other compensation for, or by reason of, his or her services as an employee of such employer, than provided for in such contract or agreement.” The amendment would not change any current union contract but would apply to any agreements negotiated in the future.
To my way of thinking this good legislation from a union member’s standpoint, it not only provides protection of the contract but also allows individual achievement. The current union contract method promotes working to the lowest common denominator mentality. After all why should you work hard if everyone gets paid the same? Now with this legislation people may work to a higher level in the hopes of achieving more. Of course it will be fought “tooth and nail” by unions because they know that if workers discover they can get rewarded for their own efforts they will quickly realize that they don’t really need the union.
If you want to learn more about RAISE check out the following:
Michael D. Haberman, SPHR is Vice-President and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc., a consulting and services company offering complete human resources solutions. Mike brings over 30 years of experience in dealing with the challenges of Human Resources in the 21st century. Mike uses his broad-based experience as a consultant, practitioner, writer, speaker and instructor in the areas of employment, interviewing, employee relations, management training, outplacement, safety, and social media to help companies solve employee problems and deal with governmental compliance in a constantly changing field. He has a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside; a Master's of Science in Industrial Relations from Georgia State University's Beebe Institute of Personnel and Employment Relations and is certified as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR). He has over 13 years experience in the class room teaching human resources fundamentals and certification preparation for multiple universities and organizations.
Mike is the author of the Human Resources blog entitled HR Observations, which as been recognized several times as a Top 25 in human resources related blogs. It was also been named as one of the Top 50 HR blogs to Watch in 2010 and 2011. He has been selected as one of six HR bloggers to be featured on the online version of Human Resources Executive Magazine. He has also been named in the Top 10 Digital Influencers in Human Resources. He blogs on the Toolbox for HR website and contributes to several other web-based newsletter and blog sites. He is frequently quoted in articles on HR topics.
Mike has gained a reputation as a compliance expert. He speaks on a variety of subjects to business associations, human resource associations and business based civic clubs. He has co-presented webinars on various HR related issues. He has authored several book reviews of both non-fiction and fiction and serves as a peer reviewer for SHRM.His clients include a broad spectrum of industries, including food, travel, textiles, medical, financial and construction.
Omega HR Solutions, Inc. offers human resources solutions including compliance reviews, wage and hour guidance, supervisory/managerial training, strategic guidance
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The 77 million people that make up the US small business workforce would rank as the 17th most populous country in the world, just ahead of Iran;
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