Labors are the backbone of organizational processes and without them, firms operational activities cannot take place. The technological advancements are in a quest to eradicate the concept of human labor into work but desirable results are not achieved till date. The influence of labors in the automobile manufacturing companies is colossal because they act as the backbone in the manufacturing plants. General Motors has prestigious name in the automobile industry. The company has been making progression for many years due to its well refined labor practices. The issues of labors arise in the company but they are very well managed by the United Auto Workers Union. The workers union in G.M has dominant role and is taking essential measures for the safety and welfare of labors (Herod, 2000).
Establishing good connections with the laborers is the primary approach of every company. Workers union makes significant prominence by maintain the role of a bridge between the higher management and the labors. General Motors has faced many external and internal problems in its business endeavors; labors union issue was one of it. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate general motors' business endeavors, spectrum of general motors' operations and the reason of emergence of workers union in the company. Moreover employee's management cell, core issues prevalent in the company and the attainment of rights are discussed. The study also elucidates the labor union's engagement with masses, its dominance over the company along with critical analysis and conclusion.
General Motors Business Endeavors
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General Motors is one of the largest automobile manufacturing companies of the world. The company has more than 202,000 employees and its spectrum of business is spread in around 157countries. The firm has several strategic alliances with the automobile manufacturing companies on various locations. It is the part of Detroit big three in which Chrysler and Ford are the other two firms. GM America is the cash cow of earning the most number of revenues. Company faced turmoil in 2008 due to the global recession but was able to come out of it through spectacular strategic planning. The other two firms of the Detroit big three were bankrupt but GM was able to save itself from bankruptcy (Bosco, 2012).
General Motors was stabilized after 2010 and the firm went into profits again. The firm had to face three difficult years of business operations from 2008-10 but the decision making authority of the company took crucial steps to get the firm back on track. Labors activities in the firm are considerable and management listens to the demands and suggestions of the laborers. During the critical years of bankruptcy, labors stood by the firm and supported management decisions. Certain labor activists tried to influence the management in 2008 when the threat of bankruptcy was quite obvious. The intervention of United Auto Workers solved the issues between the management and labors (Warner, 2013).
Labor Union in General Motors
United Auto Workers (UAW) is the labor unions active in General Motors. It is basically a multinational labor union having its operations in Canada, Costa Rica and United States. It has significant role in General Motors proceedings at every level. The United Auto Workers was formed in 1935 and historically it has been a part of several worldly activities. The motto is to protect employees rights, protection of labors at every cost and playing the gap of a bridge between management and labors. United Auto Workers majorly invaded General Motors in 1945 (Jacobson and Walline, 2010).
UAW is making roar in GM since then and plays key role in GM operational activities. The union overall has 390,000 present active members. Different local unions are formed by UAW at different platforms so that their voice would be heard out loud. The union is losing members after the global recession and conflicts between the inner management. The wage rate of labors in 2007 at GM remained $28 which was quite promising in the industry. The newly hired workers were paid $14.5 or $15 per hour. The labor union had to agree with the terms of General Motors because of good wage rate but after 2010, UAW enforced GM to give more benefits and bonuses to the laborers (Warner, 2013).
Spectrum of GM operations
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
General Motors is a huge firm therefore it has categorized its business operations and every sub unit has been given authoritative measures. Majorly there are five business segments created by GM which include GM North America, GM South America, GM Europe, GM Financial and GM International Operations. These all are the building blocks of the firm and contribute a lot in the progression and development of the company. Labors are divided into the business units however the majority of labors remain in the GM North America and GM South America. The labors working in the manufacturing plants of GM are cult followers of the United Auto Workers decisions (Bosco, 2012).
The trucks and cars production unit have the largest majority of labors. Their role is considerable in the manufacturing process of cars. The technological measures are reliant on labors efficiency to control them. In the company overall, United Auto Workers leadership deals with the higher management at every steak. The management also tries to interact with the leadership of the union to get insight about labors mindsets. Workers Union calls strikes if necessary and motivates the labors too to actively participate in the operational activities. General Motors is basically heavily relying on the role of United Auto Workers as they have supreme labor powers. Some of the hard decisions by the management have been taken due to force and pressure lay by the union (Courtney and Wagner, 2011).
Employees Management Cell
General Motors believes in crystal clear performance management systems. The managerial level employee's cell is maintained priory. The company has taken steps in the past to manage the performance management systems of labors too. The intention remained to establish good relations with the labors so that they would actively perform their duties and become asset of the company. The labors appreciated this step but the method transplanted was not satisfying the United Auto Workers Union. Pressure on management was created to revise this plan and come up with something more transparent (Lucas and Furdek, 2011).
The workers of GM enjoy competitive wage rate and United Auto Workers ensure that company would take further steps for the betterment of the current wage rate too. United Auto Workers is basically working in several automobile manufacturing firms therefore its membership and leadership decisions are controlled by the headquarters in Detroit. The union remains to create good ties with the leadership of the firm and the employees. Certain decision of the Union was over-ruled by the firms. Union called for strikes and closing of manufacturing units by then (Russell, 2011).
Issues Prevalent in the Firm
The global recession of 2008 did not bring good results for the company's operations. Many barriers and obstacles came in between the company's operations. The financial pressure remained the major one with the threat of bankruptcy. The workers union also played their part by demanding financial benefits from the company. Most of the workers were threatened by unemployment therefore demanded job security and financial benefits. The stocks of the company also fell down therefore there was no option left for the labors in that critical times. General Motors ensured workers to continue working as some support from the U.S Government came in. President Obama supported the firm from bankruptcy as 25% shares of the firm are with the U.S Government (Bosco, 2012).
The company after 2010 came back into profits again and the United Auto Workers forced for the profit sharing bonuses for workers and new factory jobs for the production workers would be brought in. The company after gaining strong position into the market looked confident to watch over the demands of labors and made precise deals with the union to bring good name and virtue for its future operational activities. The healthcare benefits increase and increase in pension rates were also some of the major demands asked by the Union officials (Courtney and Wagner, 2011).
Engagement of Masses
The UAW had been the main thrive for workers activities in the company and had an overwhelming membership. After 2008 recession, the membership dropped down dramatically as every member was concerned about employment in the company and saving money. The global recession clone passed away in 2010 and 2011 was the year of progression and development but still the membership is not that much. The rate is dropping down which is not satisfactory for UAW. The engagement of masses at GM is quite low but the dominating factor still prevails that is quite motivating for labors. In the ever evolving technological realm, engagement of labors through social media networks has been increased. UAW asks its members and labors of General Motors to get updates on their social media page and their official website. The viral messaging and asking employees to gather on different forums via cell phones is also the medium used by UAW (Russell, 2012).
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The first deal of UAW with General Motors took place in 2011. The deal brought promising outcomes as satisfaction level of employees increased. General Motors agreed to increase the health package of employees and profit sharing of bonuses was also ensured. The signing bonuses were assured by the management and the current wage rate was a bit increased. The profitability of the company has been increasing as the clouds of recession are passed away. UAW previously agreed with the management that they would be asking for profit shares after the company reaches stable position. The employees which were layoff during the recession regime were also brought back to the firm. The dealing with GM management went successful (Lucas and Furdek, 2011).
The company had to face several issues regarding labors especially in the global recession period. The intelligent management of General Motors was able to get out of trouble by making precise measures. However there are some serious concerns of United Auto Workers which needed to be resolved. General Motors management ensured labors to resolve their legitimate issues after the company goes into profits. The last quarter of 2010 stabilized company's position and after that, GM fulfilled its promise by making deals with UAW. The increase in pension rates, wage rate, job security, health care and brining lay off employees during the recession period was fulfilled by the company. It is evident that UAW is dominating GM labors and they have also taken major steps in creating good relations of labors with GM management.