Custom «Labor Unions» Essay Paper Sample
With an increase in the demand for entertainment in late 1920s and early 1930s, studios were pressured to act more and make more presentations in theaters and movies. With great returns from these entertainments through acting, many acting studios were established to meet the demand. The movie studio owners mostly in Hollywood employed actors and actresses who they manipulated by signing with them contract that could benefit the studio owners more and overuse the actors. With time this became worse as demand countrywide increased.
In 1933, in an effort to fight for the rights of the actors, Screen Actors Guild (SAG) a trade union was founded. It was founded to remove the oppression the actors and actresses were going through in Hollywood where they were being forced to sign contracts by owners of major movie studios which did not include clauses of the wages to be paid and the number of hours they had to work. In the contracts, the studio owners dictated the actions and lives of the actors signing the contracts. Moreover, the contracts denied the actors the right to end the contracts at their will.
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Over the years, SAG have dominated the entertainment world as a union balancing all the stakeholders' benefits and this has eventually led to Hollywood being termed as the best movie producer industry. Moreover, the actors and actresses of Hollywood are now seen as the richest actors in the world. Still standing with their motto, which is to discuss and bring collective negotiation contracts that lead to best working conditions, access to crucial benefits and equitable amount of compensation for all actors that are members of the union. Up to date, SAG claims full legal power over motion pictures entertainment and shares legal power of internet, new media, radio, and television with AFTRA. This is an indication that the union has grown parallel with the growth of technology in communication industry(Lin, 2003).
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To have up to date over 200,000 members, the union has over the years maintained standards and ethical principles to guide it fulfill and maintain its mandate to the members. On this it has ensured not everyone can be a member but only those with a future and that are serious in their career. Foremost for a person to join SAG, one must have met one criterion in any of these three categories. He or she must be a principal performer, this mean that he must be involved in acting for a firm found eligible by SAG and that he is paid according to SAG requirement. Or one is a background performer, meaning the person may become a SAG member by collecting union vouchers that are more than three of them for separate days of work. Lastly, one may become a member if he is a member of a sister union to SAG like AAAA.
Another ethical principle of SAG is that they have come up with clear laws that each member is given time to read and agree to before they become members. Moreover, any breaking of these laws lead to consequences that ensure members abide to the laws fully. This includes, ensuring no person uses a stage name similar or identical to any stage name of a members of the union. Moreover also, no member can be a member of another union on motion pictures and they only work for firm registered with SAG. This ensures that each member can be clearly identified by their work and no confusion occurs. Still on point of ethical principles, the union has led to enactment of laws that will protect the work of its members. An example is the copyright law.
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To survive with the changing environment in communication and motion media field, SAG has tried to adapt to the environment regularly. For instant, with the emergence of internet, movie copyright increased and this is still a way the movie industry is now using to sell their movies all over the world and hence to cover this gap SAG collaborated with AFTRA to govern and protect the rights of their members from the people copywriting the work of their members. They have even pressured the government to come up with laws to punish those found guilty of copying work of others in internet.
In times that the government or a group does not give in to their demands, SAG goes ahead and calls for strikes all over the world or in a country which pressures the government to give in to their demand or negotiate with them in order to end the strike. This works in that, the strike leads to there being no entertainment content being aired or being produced hence this lead to losses to the country mostly like in America, which gains millions of dollars yearly as foreign exchange from sale of movies.
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SAG has achieved greatly over the years by using strikes to pressure the government and motion picture industry to give in. Over the years, the union has led to growth of motion picture industry and equitable compensation for all stakeholders. It has also led to protection from unauthorized use of the members work. With these accomplishments, the union went ahead to increase the number of the members it had by venturing in radio, television and new media, a move that was meant to protect those in motion picture in all ways. This union started in United State of America but over the years it has spread to cover other countries that have motion pictures producing industries hence unifying these firms in order to avoid unfair competition among the industries in different countries. To date, the main purpose of the union still exists but it continues changing with the change in technology and the motion picture industry(Pisaturo, 2007).
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Labor unions' main point is always ensuring equitable compensation to all stakeholders hence ensuring balance among all players in a given field. Stakeholders have greatly affected all stakeholders of corporations. Foremost, from the management point of view, their main aim is always trying to maximize the profits by increasing sales and trying to reduce costs. Hence most of the time they under pay their employees, overwork them for extra hours and they end up making worker work in unhealthy environment. With unions, this is not the case, as the management is pressured to give in to the demands of the union that promote equity for all and hence they end up paying employees as they deserve and even ensuring the employees are treated as they should. This is a good thing as many managers only want to make happy the stockholders by increasing the profits without minding how they do it and the concerns of workers.
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On the point of stakeholders, unions have affected them greatly. As the management is pressured to compensate the employees fully and equitably, this make the profit becomes less hence the returns reduce for . From my view, the stockholders now get what they deserve in accordance to their stock. This is fair and they should be contented with it.
On the workers side, unions have protected them over the decades and owing they do not have power to force the management to compensate them equitably, unions have fought for them and now they have justice and they are fully compensated as this motivate them to work more. This has in a great way led to fewer deaths of workers due to bad work conditions and now many employees can fully support their families and even rise up from poverty. Lastly, consumers have gained both directly and indirectly from unions. Foremost, with employees being compensated well, they end up producing quality products that the consumers enjoy. Also, the consumers are protected by unions from being sold products of low quality, harmful products and being sold products costly than they should.
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If the employees in a way feel they are greatly oppressed and the management has declined to hear their need and they have no other way out of this, they may go on a strike to pressure the management. The employees should ensure the strike only affect the management and does not bring liabilities to other third parties. The consequences of striking are that, on the legally point of view, if the employees strike because of the place of work conditions, the management can permanently replace all the employees who went on strike. But if the employees went on strike because the management did actions against the unions, here, the employees cannot be permanently laid off and they have the right to be given back their jobs at the end of the strike(Bernstein, 2008).
Morally, the consequences of strike are mostly not just as they end up affecting people that were not involved like customers. Foremost, the laid off employees for going for strike end up losing for trying to fight for better compensation. The firms end up closing for some time until other workers are employed to take over where the other employees left. Lastly in case the work was to offer services to customers, the customers end up not receiving the services which most of the time are usually very crucial. For instance medical services and transport services can be a great loss if not offered in time.
It is in a great way ethical for Labor unions to influence politics as politics is the first pillar that determine the growth of the economy and hence the availability of jobs for employees and even better salaries. Above their major purpose, the unions should in a great way be involved in politics to ensure the political environment remains the best for all employees and members of the union and hence the whole country at large.
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Unions especially labor unions have made the field level flat for all players to benefit with no side manipulating the other one. Each and every group of workers need to be members of a trade union that will fight for their rights and hence ensure they get what they deserve and they are able to fight for what they want and they deserve. In conclusion, the unions are great and have helped shape the world to what it is now.