Culture of Safety
(1) The case implies that Brad Spencer’s focus was more geared to how to prevent the occurrence of future accidents. In the case, there was no hint of any kind that suggests that Spencer would like to blame the worker who caused the accident. Furthermore, no one in the HR team suggested that penalizing the responsible worker would be the solution to the problem. If Spencer would penalize employees for causing accidents and turn it into a company policy, I believe it would only pressure the workers and increase their anxiety levels. When they feel anxious, accidents are more likely to occur. For this reason, Spencer should not penalize the worker responsible for the accident. Moreover, it is partly the fault of the company for not fostering a work environment that promotes safety. Although the responsible worker is trained not to mix chemicals, he was not trained to be committed to safety practices. Thus, the best way to deal with the problem is for the company to create a culture of safety in the workplace.
(2) The company can put up catchy signs to remind the workers to be careful and be conscious of their actions all the time. However, when their eyes get used to seeing the sign, it may not become as catchy as it was in the beginning. This flaw could be remedied by replacing the signs every six months or so. The company can also conduct safety commitment and awareness workshops to instill in workers the importance of keeping the work environment safe and the tips to develop the commitment to safety. They can also include in the workshop the safety practices that the workers can adopt even while under pressure.
Organized Labor—Past, Current, and Future?
(1) The decline in union membership may be attributed to the unions themselves. Because of the successful negotiations with U.S. companies in the steel industry to increase wages and benefits of the employees, the steel companies lost their competitiveness to foreign steel producers. Union demands concerning healthcare and unfunded pension liabilities forced companies in the airline and auto making industries to bankruptcy. Meanwhile, union members blame the decline of union membership and their negotiating leverage and power to globalization. This allowed companies to outsource manufacturing and service jobs outside the U.S., reducing the labor force (and consequently, union members) as a result. Workers, on the hand, lost interest in joining unions as they (unions) were no longer responsive to their needs.
(2) The recently formed Change to Win Coalition is composed of unions who left the AFL-CIO to organize the American workers. They are planning to make the unions more flexible, modern, and less involved in political parties. The unions are also planning to pressure multinational companies to sign global agreements to allow the employees to organize and form a global union.
(3) The union management of AFL-CIO was criticized for its preoccupation of political donations and other agendas that are not in the best interest of the workers. Hence, the separation of several unions from AFL-CIO might bring promising changes to the system of unions. The unions of the newly formed Change to Win Coalition are devising strategies to increase union membership and move it to the global level. If this becomes successful, employees from around the world would be able to form a global union. This would allow the unions to make demands from multinational companies (MNCs) as they (MNCs) would no longer be able to use sourcing of production and services to low-wage countries as a threat.