Unions are often joined by employees in order to have some sort of backing that will help them maintain an agreeable work environment. Companies will often create an employment contract with their employees, and if those contracts are breached or modified in a way that could negatively impact employees, a union may step in to negotiate terms. If negotiations do not occur in an agreeable fashion, legal action could take place.
A union representing workers in Florida is currently examining a new contract for workers that could soon be put into effect as the previous contract has expired. The expired contract, however, disclosed that there would be a 60-day period in which to negotiate a new contract. A concern of the union representation is that the company is willing to have employees go on strike in order to obtain the contract details the workers desire.
Representatives on behalf of the workers' union also believe that the company wants to reduce beneficial parts of the contract concerning healthcare for the workers. Other areas of concern include the possible reduction in pay for sick days, less holiday benefits and doing away with benefits for spouses of employees. As negotiations still have time to be amicably made, the situation has potential for being resolved in a fashion benefiting all parties involved.
While an employment contract that suits both employers and workers is what is hoped for, it will be unclear if that will happen until the negotiations come to an end. If the workers are still unsatisfied with the contract details, they may wish to consult Florida state employment laws to determine whether they could benefit from pursuing litigation. Becoming more knowledgeable about the circumstances could allow the workers to take actions to ensure they will be treated fairly and retain their needed benefits.
Source: Tampa Bay Times, Duke Energy, union's contract talks raise safety concerns at nuke plant, Ivan Penn, Dec. 4, 2013