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The New Deal: We all Win 

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    The primary intent and purpose of a business is to provide a service to the social stratum at large. This is executed within the bounds and contractual agreements between workers and employers who share a unique and relentless relationship. On the surface, this appears to be a simple yet easy method of business; however, there are certain gravitational pulls that tend to obstruct such relationships and force each other into a quagmire where contention and uneasiness resides. Still, the main purpose of the commercial end of business is to provide a service where society benefits and is marked by its ability to carry out supply and demand of such goods and services. Issues will come about that threatens the harmony and balance of the organization. Workers will have to speak their minds and demand better accommodations for their labor, as well as employers who want to meet the demands of rigorous servicing. This is especially true for businesses centered around industrious platforms where longshore workers and employers have the toughest time trying to balance what they call an uncertain job of stress and strain. While this is true on the behalf of both parties involved, employer and employee, there are certain things that come into play, such as job safety, fair wages, employee acknowledgement, not being in fear of being fired or harassed, and workable hours with family leave if necessary. I am quite confident that everyone involved at the negotiating table can agree that this is the fundamental right of every individual working as a longshore employee and even the higher echelon of staff can attest to their humble beginnings when they experienced some form of trepidation and anxiety about their position and the future of their employment. When both sides are in harmony, this not only benefits the business end of the equation, but also benefits society as a whole, as services and goods are rendered with expediency and quality. This is the purpose of this negotiation.

    ​The language of the workers should always be key to improving conditions and circumstances regarding their employment. Let us look at how we can deservingly calm down the emotional appeal of the situation without losing sight of the real issue here. No one here wants to endure a long and drawn out battle over issues that can be resolved right here and now, especially when the bargaining table is open to discussion to fix what’s broken. One of the benefits of having a chain of command in this scenario is that gang bosses are hired to facilitate hiring practices they are familiar with. We acknowledge that the dirty work is done by the longshore workers who perform backbreaking labor every day for hours at a time. We acknowledge that the Depression has set all of us back and funds are scarce in this situation, as certain guarantees have literally evaporated into thin air. As stated before, before 1922, I had the power and privilege of hiring who I wanted and had more leeway into such matters of safety, hours worked, wages, and hiring practices., things have changed in such a way that our business practices and the culture of commerce has changed for the worse. There are layoffs that I can’t afford and workers being laid off for reasons I can’t justify other than I can’t afford to keep them with the influx of Depressive climates. I simply go by the numbers and work with what I’ve been given; it doesn’t please me in no way to see good hard-working men and women have to beg and plead to feed their families. However, this is the reality the bigger ups have painted for all of us and we are just playing the hand we have been given.

    ​From a workers’ standpoint, there has to be some form of analysis and understanding that caters to the cry of the unheard voice and invisible face at these meetings. As a worker, I can understand the painstaking decision making that comes with hiring and firing practices, as no one wants to be in that predicament. With that said, there are things that can be done to reassure the bottom tier of employment that everything is being done to represent their voice and choice in this matter. If we all take notice to what’s going on with our bargaining issue, it is the banks behind a lot of this confusion and they have us both by the cojones, excuse my deliberate bravado. However, I like yourself have borrowed money that is insurmountable without a job or a way of paying it back. We both suffer high interest rates and inescapable fees that go into fault if we fail to measure up to one delinquent payment. What about Mr. Johnson who has worked for this company for 15 years and has aged to the point where is too slow to compete with the younger souls who come here and give their lives to the task of being pawns in a chess match? What about my supervisor who is afraid of speaking out in fear he will get rebuked by the higher ups for aligning with truth and ethical behavior? What about the unemployed who are looking for work and can’t find it based on the Depression has all of us in the same boat? This is why it is important to find our common ground and seek resolution before things get out of hand and damage our perspective situation beyond repair. These words are for the supervisors and the managers, the longshore workers and the unemployed job seekers who suffer alike, just in or own way. This is about the workers as well as the people who hire and fire the workers as we both are a unique blend of commonality.

    ​ It is reasonable for each party to feel like their side is not being heard or embraced as something detrimental to the growth and development of the organization. The workers see the Union Recognition clause as something that has to go. Why? When we view the chain of command that comes with hiring and firing, it seems as if there is no true intimate human contact that allows the gang bosses and the Stevedore Company to empathize with the longshore workers, often cited as calling them insignificant and moronic. There are instances where the upper-tier staff look down on workers because of their expendable nature and educational deficiency. This attitude has grown into something that is toxic and unacceptable, even by the least of moralists involved in this negotiation. Every phase of the hiring practice, from the Hiring Hall to the people in charge of the actual hiring, have been scripted and ordained to play out a role that governs the lives of real human beings, not actors in a theater. If we are to understand each other on a more personal and professional note, we have to put aside these discrepancies and disparities and see that we all want to feed our families and watch our children grow up in a society that prides itself on freedom and the pursuit of happiness. The concept of fair wages, safety issues, and hours worked are not new to any roundtable discussion. The idea of scabs crossing that picket line to go to work when so much is at stake is rather an insult to those who are fighting for our futures, even with the assistance of staff on the side of management. In every sense of the word, we have to create a bridge that caters to communication and respect for each other or the Depression will continue to win and we all lose. The Depression doesn’t care about skin color, weight, age, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation; it only sees havoc and chaos. This is our time to defeat the Depression, not each other

    ​Both sides have an abundance of arguable reasons why they feel the way they feel. I can understand the way the management feels when they say they have to cut prices and lose wages, based on the Depression. This is absolutely true, based on the fact that before the economic crisis, wages were suitable to the workers’ livelihood. In 1930, wages were $.90 per hour and in 1933, they dropped to $.75 per hour. When the International Longshore Association got involved, the wages inclined to $.85 per hour, a little increase as a result of clever negotiating. Another important fact to note is that before 1922, there was no need for union dealings as wages and conditions seemed different or rather accepted as the norm. However, the Depression and other conditions spiraled the need for active negotiations and here we are. What about the retail store owners who are losing monies and workers because of the economic fall out? Society as a whole is being affected and it would be selfish of all of us to sit here griping about certain issues when the entire country is suffering. But guess who owes the banks? Of course, our collective answers would be the longshore workers, the gang bosses, the retail store owners, the Stevedore Company, the unemployed workers seeking employment, and the unions. Language such as communists and capitalists shouldn’t be implemented into our negotiation as they evoke anger and resentment. There is also no need for higher ups to detach themselves from the crisis or the issue because they feel they’re too educated and smart to suffer alongside the workers who do all the manual labor. After all, there are workers losing legs and limbs attempting to achieve a status quo for the companies they work for. In the deepest parts of the jungles is where we can find this type of attitude and sentiment regarding the feelings on human compassion. Laborers working strenuous hours with little room for breaks is certainly a criminal offense in some countries, and I know the staff at this company is more than ready to approach and delegate what needs to be to cure the atmosphere of such sentiments.

    ​At this negotiation, we discovered several things that can be fixed in order to increase harmony which will increase productivity and trust amongst employees at every level. We learned that grueling hours is not necessary to achieve a goal and that creating an inviting environment for employees is better than sustaining a hostile one. There is no need to address each other as morons and communists when the suffering of both sides prove that we are all together in this fight for survival. Therefore, the following suggestions have been made. One, the speed ups that are endangering employee health and mortality will cease to increase and develop an alternative course until there is a format worked out that benefits both sides. Older employees can’t grieve the growing influx of demand and have to concede to such demands if they can’t produce the anticipated output necessary to compete. However, older employees will not be fired or discarded like trash in the event they can’t maintain a certain anticipated pace. The standards of performance and production are too high to maintain in such situations and are causing considerable harm to employees, the company itself, and to supply and demand; therefore, a new method of shift changes will be implemented to govern such situations where laborers won’t work long hours without proper breaks and relief. The union recognition will be modified in order to include workers speaking to staff that have their futures and fates in their hands. There will also be a unit specialized in hiring practices that make sure women at every level are included in discussions of wages, safety and managerial positions. The end result of this meeting will secure the organization from losing profits and gain the respect from all sides to warrant change and success during this financial crisis.

     

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