Challenges Facing Human Resource Managers at UPS|Industrial Relations

Related to establishing good employee relations is instituting and fostering good industrial relations with labor force negotiators. Since at UPS most of its staff is from unions (UPS 2009a), formulating a procedure that best addresses union threats is a challenge to human resource managers. With a large proportion of its workforce having been affiliated to wide networks of employee unions, UPS human resource management faces the challenge of managing union demands. The corporation for instance faced one crippling union strike in 1997 when teamster affiliated workers were contesting for more full-time jobs and pension (CNN, 1997). This then exemplifies most multinational corporations dilemma since the right of employees to join labor unions is a recognized right in many countries laws.

Unions have a significant effect on a corporation’s human resource strategy. Gomez-Mejia, Balkin & Cardy (2001) for instance note that unions via their bargaining power could significantly alter the outcomes of the approach that a corporation adopts to manage its workforce. The effect of these is aggravated by the fact that unions are supported by employment laws in most countries (Stavrou-Costea 2005). The challenge to human resource managers is thus: to get acquainted with the labor laws in the regions where the entity conducts business in order to avoid rendering the entity liable to law; and impartially implement the provisions and deal fairly with each employees case while resolving their grievances (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin & Cardy 2001).

Managing industrial relations thus provides another key challenge that organizations expanding to global markets face. Though, many studies note the declining role of unions in Europe (cited in Stavrou-Costea 2005); the fact that multinational corporations operate in regions where such unions still play an important role in labor negotiations; implies maintaining favorable industrial relations continues to be a human resource challenge in these firms.


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