The Union and Workplace Violence
The workplace may be any place a worker performs a job such as in an office, a grocery store, a mall, a parking lot, a private residence, or a public building. There has been an increased number of violent acts that have taken place within the workplace, for a number of reasons. The work environment is a very diversified and dynamic one today, both inside and outside the organization. Violence is generally defined as any act of aggression that causes emotional or physical harm, such as threats, verbal abuse, and assaults. Threats and assaults that cause injuries occur much more frequently than homicides. However, it seems workplace violence only receives attention by the public when someone is killed. Workplace violence is a serious issue for both management and employees. However, when violent events occur and employment situations are unionized, the relationship between management and the union becomes even more critical. This paper will review workplace violence statistics and the legal responsibilities of the employer and the employee along with the union's responsibilities and the effect of workplace violence on collective bargaining agreements. We will also identify a number of environmental factors, work practices, and perpetrator characteristics that expose employees to violence with an emphasis on the need to undertake a fundamental change in the relationship between unions and management to avoid conditions associated with workplace violence.
Keywords: Workplace, Violence, Unions, Collective bargaining
Dr. Suzanne Crampton
Associate Professor of Management, Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University
Dr. John Hodge
Professor of Management, Seidman College of Business, Grand Valley State University