A labor union is defined as an organized association of workers or employees and they are often in a specific profession or trade and they form this organization to protect their rights and best interests. If we talk about its historical background labor unions have fought to end child labor and create better wages for workers. It also improves workplace safety and provides benefits such as health care or financial aid to employees injured on the job.
When Labor Unions Came Forward?
Labor unions came forward in place since the 18th century and with the formation of the federal society of Journeymen Cordwainers in 1794. The first documented strike in the United States occurred in New York and Journeymen came together to protest a reduction in their wages.
In this blog, we are going to have a glance at labor unions’ pros and cons to look at today as society looks at their continued usefulness in society compared to potential costs they provide.
Pros of Labor Unions
First of all, let’s have a look at the pros of labor unions and these are as follows:
1) Offer Benefits to Unmarried Partners
With labor unions, unmarried domestic partners have more access to work benefits as compared with those who work in nonunionized workplaces. Moreover, 80 percent of the labor workers have their health insurance premium paid by the employees. It is also for their entire family as compared to just 66 percent in a nonunion environment.
2) Work to Create Better Lives for Everyone
The main goal of labor unions is to so arguably its most significant advantage is that it takes a tiered approach to help the employees at its best.
Members will directly negotiate with the employers to create a collective bargaining agreement. It also offers a contract for behaviors and results for both parties and unions will advocate in government to have legislation passed that benefits their representatives. Labor unions organizations work to monitor working conditions to help make them safer.
3) Provides an Outlet for Advocacy
Labor unions offer a variety of advocacy opportunities in different settings and some workers can get involved at the negotiating table. Others are supported with their work as they speak with local representatives in government at every level and if there is an unjustified disciplinary action that occurs in the workplace.
The union representative will help the employee maintain their position and these benefits often extend to nonunion workers who are active in the same work as well.
4) Do not Stop Workers From Being Fired
There is a myth percolating about labor unions throughout the United States that protect workers from being fired and that is not the case.
This organization provides an opportunity for employees to go through the due process that is available to them during a period of disciplinary action and if there is just a cause to terminate an employment contract, then the employer will do offer with the support of the union.
It also eliminates the idea that they can fire someone for any reason.
5) Helps to Create a Clear Chain of Command
In a unionized environment, workers are employed and are most likely to report their manager or supervisor treats them like a direct report instead of a friend and this structure also make it possible for workers to understand their role in a company with greater clarity is. In other words, there also exist fewer issues from hierarchy disputes. Because there is always clarity about who is in charge at any given time.
6) Creates a Foundation of Meaningful Retirement
The negotiated support of retirement benefits is one of the most significant benefits that are available through labor unions and over 90 percent of the unionized employees have access to their workplace benefits as compared to 60 percent of the nonunion workers.
The collective bargaining agreement will outline options that are available for each person. On the other hand, it may include a pension program a 401k or 403b, a specific program that outlines employee’s responsibilities for matching and funding.
Many labor unions negotiate for ongoing medical insurance. It also provides support for their retired members.
7) Give Individual Workers the Power of Group Voice
No one listens to them when an employee encounters an issue in their workplace environment. It is also because their single voice gets drowned in the crowd of other voices that are clamoring for attention.
The structure of labor unions makes it possible for like-minded people to group. It also provides support to speak with one louder voice about the issue they encounter while earning a paycheck. This entire process also makes it possible to negotiate for wages, working conditions, and better benefits.
Cons of Labor Unions
Let’s have a look at some cons of labor unions and these are as follows:
1) Limit the Individuality of Workers
Your voice gets put into the same pot as everyone else when you are employed somewhere which is supported by an active labor union. But it comes at the cost of your individuality and you do gain the power of your unification through this process and there are votes which take place to direct union representatives to take a specific action.
It is also like the approval of a new collective bargaining agreement. But if you find yourself in the minority, there is nothing you can do about that situation and certain states in the US also do allows you to redirect fees or dues sent to specific purposes towards something that you support.
2) Reinforce the Socioeconomic Divides of the Society
The structure of labor unions also creates a culture that pits the workers against the managers in the company. Even though both parties are trying to do what is best for the company and it is a mentality that often reduces the amount of collaboration that occurs between managers and workers.
It also eventually limits the creativity and innovation that comes from each team and since every significant decision is also based on the majority perspective.
3) Can Create a Combative Environment
The presence of labor unions can help to create us vs. them mentality in many places of employment. This also helps to lessen the collaboration between two parties and this mentality also applies to workers and unions at the time.
Listed above are the pros and cons of labor unions and tell us where they fit into current society.