Sample Research Paper on Service Employees International Union

Historical Background

This union came into being as a result of elevator operators, janitors and window washers coming together to negotiate for their welfare. It was therefore recognized as the building services employees union (BSEU). The union grew in population and by the year 1984, it merged with sanatorium, drug and medical care employee’s union and global jewelry workers union. Thus, the agenda of the group would change every time they enter a new deal with other unions. At this time, the union is determined and focused at bargaining for a healthy working environment for its members. The primary objective of the group is to lobby for group negotiations and collective bargaining for salaries. Therefore, employers took advantage of unorganized workers to ill-treated them. Thus, they had to find a way through which they could come together and engage employers in setting salaries and labor laws. In some cases, the blend has been advocating for organization of employees in these sectors. This includes being element of the drive for certain candidates an example of Senator Obama.

Some members boast and accuse the blending for leaning more towards politics rather than concentrating on the welfare of workers. Some of the influential leaders who have led the institution in the past include: William Quesse (1921–1927), Jerry Horan (1927–1937), William McFetridge (1940–1960), David Sullivan (1960–1971), John Sweeney (1980–1995), Andy Stern (1996–2010) and Mary Kay Henry (2010–present). Each of these influential figures played a critical function in the enlargement of the unification (Reynolds 45). William Fred Quesse was the founder of the union that looked at workers union in Chicago. The merger improved under his leadership as the head. In the year 1921, the amalgamation was awarded a charter by the American federation of labor. This enhanced the acts of the group. Jeremiah J. Horan was praised for his action and commitment to reduce intimidation, graft and violence in union. However, he was not free from graft as he was engaged in organized crime. William McFetridge on the other hand came up with record-keeping and financial practices that would help manage contribution from members. His actions shaped the company financial recording activities as well as reaching out to other sectors in the economy.

David Sullivan on his part encouraged people/workers to join the movement. Thus, membership throughout this instant amplified immensely. In adding up, the utterance Building was detached from the title of the union. John Sweeney in particular oversaw the mergers between the former unions with health workers unions. During his dominion, many parties were able to link and contribute to the development and growth of the establishment. Andy Stern fought corruption and graft through shaming leaders and equity firms. Under his leadership, Stern was able to use persuasion to strike new deals with workers. Mary Kay Henry motivated her employees so as to donate successfully to the union’s welfare. She achieved this by grouping members into manageable teams that would oversee the utilization of resources. Furthermore, she builds consensus with employers an action that saw reduction in the number of strikes in the country. She was therefore recommended as a strong negotiator hence able to make decisions without engaging in strike or labor disputes. These were special characteristic that she possessed and helped the entity move from its state to a much better state.


The association of Service recruits International Union stands at 1.9 million. It has 150 branches in America and Canada. This makes it possible for the union to lobby support for biased revelry including Democratic festivity. In the year 2008, the union spent around $28 million in hold up of autonomous gathering bid to assume presidency. The national labor relation acts (NLRA) that was drafted and affirmed by congress found its way into the union laws. In addition, public labor relations board (NLRB) was established to ensure that principles of NLRA are utilized.  Thus, the union through the helps of some of the acts mentioned above plays a major role in organizing workers and providing means of negotiation between employers and workers. This has seen companies create an enabling environment for workers in a great way.

Some of the tasks that the union has accomplished includes: championing for unionization of workers, negotiating on behalf or workers and suing employers who engages in unlawful labor practices. Through their actions, workers are able to air out their grievances while the management provides platforms for solving the stalemates.  The organization by-laws which are five in number are as follows.  The first section indicates that bylaws must be established in line with the constitution. Thus, they supplement the rights and freedom of workers outlined in the foundation. The second section incorporates the appointment rights of administrative board which affirms new bylaws. This ensures that a consensus is reached at before reaching at an agreement or making some of the proposal to be abiding laws. The third section is about voting by members of new or proposed by-laws (Sloane and Witney 67). Members are given chance to evaluate the law thirty days prior to the determination day. Afterwards, the new laws will be voted and adopted by the entity. The forth by commandment provided confirmatory voting by two thirds of board members in regards to new laws. Lastly, communication and adoption of bylaws will be done in full knowledge of members.

These bylaws enclosed effectiveness in delivery of assigned duties. The executive board has been developing new laws from time to time. Members on the other side approve some of these laws through the procedure provided above. It is one way through which consent is attained or support for new ideas coming into the limelight. There have been a lot of changes happening in this section of the economy. Thus, new laws and ideas must find their way into the union. This is the reason as to why unions especially SEIU has been on the forefront in creating new bylaws for the entity. The portfolio is also changing with entry of new members from diverse sections in the economy such as medical and industrial sectors. In order to include all the needs and wants of all the members, then, it is wise to update the existing laws so that they incorporate ideas from new members.

Public Perception

The public is now aware of the rights and freedom accorded by the constitution to workers. This is because of the civic education the union is involved in as well as encouraging members to fight for their rights. In the event dispute or strike happens, the public intend to side with workers because they are aware of the rights. The membership of the union is on an upward trend. This is an indication that the public appreciates the work of unions and institutions that make negotiations on their behalf. This is a shift in perception towards group negotiation rather than individual’s negotiations. The reason behind this is that people intend to solve employment disputes in a formal manner where they are not forced to go in strike to address a particular issue. This means that fruitful attempts to reach out to each party in the negotiating table are made during crisis. In addition, consultation and corroboration between workers and employers ensure that the business is not interrupted hence makes good use of its resources (Lewin and Kaufman 33).

At the same point, group dynamism is seen to work in regards to public perception. Small unions are merging to form a large and powerful entity that is able to deal with the issues of individual industry. Thus, the focus of such an institution is to harmonize salaries across the board for workers of the same level. In addition, they have a strong bargaining power due to the authority they posses or gets from its members. Thus, employers and companies intend to avoid confrontation with such groups so as to safeguard the interest and image of the company. This involves paying workers their due on time as well as providing good terms and conditions for employment. Similarly, they create a good environment for working hence workers feel free and at ease when rendering their services to the institution.

Personal Opinion

The union is among the largest institution in western countries that caters for workers by negotiating with employers on their behalf. This has earned the institution a good name in the public in addition to improved membership. My views are that the institution has managed to fight for the basic rights for workers by engaging employers in negotiations. These negotiations tend to offer new perspective into the problem or disputes in organizations. Currently, I am not a member but in the future I will consider joining the group due to work related issues. Some of my arguments for joining the union are outlined below. First, the institution has come a long way into its current situation. Therefore, I have consolidated and gained experience in negotiation hence in times of need they can guide me appropriately. Second, the benefits of becoming a member are numerous (Gao 400). The first benefit is that I will be covered in times of crisis because the institution looks at the welfare of its members. Furthermore, employers will treat workers with dignity. This means that the practices will be done within the law and any unlawful dealing will be in void. This assures workers that they will be protected from mistreatment at work. The last thing is improved social network. The network created by the union helps share knowledge and information that is critical in employment and in life.

Corruption is something that have held back the activities of the union and made it unsuccessful in lobbying support from the public. The reasons as to why corruption has negatively affected the credibility of the institution are outlined below. First, people/members lose hope in corrupt leaders and institutions that condone such acts. Corrupt leaders are more likely to accept bribe from various institutions that do not want to be scrutinized and evaluated for their actions. Thus, the right or the needs of the members will not be met due to corrupt dealings. This is one of the most dangerous behaviors that leaders can engage in as a means of making money for themselves. It is an illustration of managerial negligence between players who take advantage of workers plight to benefits financially.

The other form of corruption is embezzlement of funds from the entities coffer. This has happened under the leadership of some of the presidents who held the seat in this institution. Draining the company money leaves it unable to carry out or perform its duties with diligence hence a negative behavior to engage in. Moreover, the greed for money overrules service delivery by some of the leaders elected to head the union. Workers depend on the decisions made by their employers through corroboration with the union. In the event issues of corruption come into live, the organization will fail to meet its mandate. Workers will lose hope in such entities an action that will reduce enrollment activities.

General Comments

In summary, SEIU has played a critical role in setting labor laws in the United States and regions surrounding the country. The merger of several unions to form a big and powerful entity was a big achievement by SEIU. This has seen the entity continually increase in member population. In addition, it has spread to other areas so as to offer services and change labor practices in these areas. Workers awareness has also moved to a higher level because people are sensitive to the working conditions and remuneration. It is at this point where companies have to adopt new and favorable labor practices due to workers demand. The population within these regions has known their rights and is ready to defend them through joining and participating in unions.

The setting of bylaws is a process that involves the executive board and members. Without members consent the bylaws will be considered void. New laws and regulations have to be passed and adopted through voting by all members. Before voting, the information is passed to members so that they are aware of the development. This will gather support for the endeavor and the regulations may eventually become bylaws. However, parliament and the government in general play a critical role in setting up ground for the establishment of labor unions. Government in most of the regions in the world have been on the forefront in frustrating labor unions because they challenge some of the critical decisions made by different departments. This should not be the case because workers too have the right to make demand for better pay and conditions of work. By limiting the establishment and growth of labor unions, the government creates room for exploitation and mistreatment of workers in their work stations. This is the same case observed in government offices where lowly paid workers struggle to get their issues catered for. Some of the leaders in government offices tend to discourage workers from airing out their grievances. They do this to intimidate these workers from accessing their rights or uncovering their evils deeds such as corruption, ignorance and inefficient delivery endeavor. A country cannot grow when corrupt people holds leadership position or govern the state. In regards to private institutions, the chief executive officers need to be persons of integrity. The reason is that people or leaders who puts forth integrity in their work tends to work diligently. They normally work for the benefit of the company and put less emphasize on money/salaries.

Contrary, SEIU was engulfed with a lot of drawbacks due to opposition by the public at the inception. Workers were slow to join and participate in the group to make it better. At the same time, many employers were opposed to the idea of unions because they challenged them when it came to employment issues. Labor unions during the 17th century would urge their members to go on the street and demand for better salaries and allowances. This would disrupt business operations from time to time. Employers became intolerance with the number of strikes that took place during this period hence they tried to discourage members from joining union by intimidating them. To some extreme end, some employees would lose their jobs because of enrolling as members in labor unions. The leaders in these unions during this period were encouraged to sit down with the management of an institution and come up with a workable plan. The adopted plan would therefore guide the behaviors and actions of individuals when an issue arose.

When SEIU was being formed, many employees from the unorganized sectors such as building, painting and loading sections in the economy would be paid very low. The working hours companies imposed on laborers were also untenable and would not be tolerated by institutions of labor. Thus, workers came up with an idea of coming together and form a strategic group that would help brainstorm ideas. At the same time, members would contribute towards all the activities of the group which were geared towards an effective working environment and relationship with employers (Chaison 150). Many employers were hesitant to let their workers become members of the groups because they believed that the group developed ideas contrary to what the entity stands for.

Thus, challenges faced by SEIU during and after the 17th century are outlined below. The first challenge includes resistance from employers. This was the main reason as to why many unions failed in their attempts to perform the duty to the letter. Furthermore, some were unable to see the light of the day. Employers would constantly participate in activities that would see the utelisation or coming up of the institution brought down. In the event these institutions stands and able to lobby support, then, employers would find it hard to company with labor laws. However, some unions were successful to withstand the challenges hence gained popularity amongst workers who become pious members. The second reason is intimidation from government and other institutions that benefited from unlawful labor practices. When an idea of developing or forming a group came into the public, government and interested parties were concerned about it and would move fast to know the agenda of the group. Some employers would liaison with government to issues threat and intimidate workers an action that was regarded unethical.  However, as time passed many institutions accepted and were ready to absorb members who joined union because they complied with labor regulations.


Works Cited

Chaison, Gary. “Labor Union Mergers.” SpringerBriefs in Economics, vol. 22, no. 4, 11 Oct. 2016, pp. 123-160.

Gao, Shuncheng. “The Psychological Stress of Employees – A Questionnaire Survey.” 2011 International Conference on Management and Service Science, vol. 12, no. 5, 9 June 2011, pp. 344-450.

Lewin, David, and Bruce E. Kaufman. Advances in Industrial and Labor Relations: Volume 14. Elsevier JAI, 2010.

Reynolds, Lloyd G. Labor Economics and Labor Relations. Prentice-Hall, 2014.

Sloane, Arthur A, and Fred Witney. Labor Relations. Prentice-Hall, 2011.