In most organizations, managers address many HR-related issues on a daily basis. While it is prudent to seek advice from HR professionals, many smaller organizations do not have a separate, centralized human resource department. That is the case in this activity, where the HR functions are shared among several operations managers. Further, it is common for people who are new to an organization to spot unusual things that long-serving employees miss because they are simply used to the way things are. In this activity, you will analyze a case where the new manager needs to understand labor law, as well as other employment laws, in order to effectively discuss his concerns with his boss.Consider the following scenario.Eli Fares is a departmental manager at a mid-sized manufacturing plant in western Pennsylvania that produces the magnetized sheets used to make refrigerator magnets. Eli has been on the job about six months and he is beginning to worry about several employee relations issues. There are 48 non-production workers who work as managers, supervisors, office staff, production equipment maintenance employees, accounting, or sales staff. All of these are salaried positions. There are about 240 hourly employees who work on the production lines, or in inventory, housekeeping, and shipping. There is no separate HR staff, and HR duties are currently divided among the management and clerical staff.The manufacturing facility has three distinct sections; an office area and a space for maintenance and shipping comprises about 1/10th of the building on the east end, and the production area takes up the rest on the west end. The east end of the building is separated from the production area. It is clean and has good heating and air conditioning. The production area on the west end is dirty and does not have air conditioning. Generally the heat of the production processes is the only heating provided except in unusually cold weather. There is limited ventilation and the production area gets very hot in the summer, sometimes over 100 F. There seems to always be an undercurrent of grumbling among the production employees and Eli has heard rumors of a union organizing drive.The other concern that Eli has is the unwritten policy whereby the production supervisors pressure employees not to take time off for any reason and not to file workers compensation claims if they have an injury. Paid vacation is required to be taken during the annual two-week shut down for maintenance. Employees receive no other paid time off benefits. It is common for employees who take a sick day or who have workers compensation claims to be assigned to the least favorable jobs when they return to work.Eli has scheduled a meeting with his supervisor, the plant manager, to discuss his observations and he wants to be well prepared.Write a short paper that summarizes your view of what Eli should tell his boss, and be sure to address the following:Explain the process by which a union can become the sole and exclusive representative for a bargaining unit.If a union drive does get underway, explain how this might limit what management can and cannot do.Discuss any current liabilities that the company faces from a legal perspective and from a risk management perspective.Do you think that the plant is large enough to justify a position that is focused solely on human resources? Explain why or why not. Justify your claims.
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