Do you know what unions are? In general, unions are organized associations of employees, workers, or labourers. They can be either public or private employees.
The main goal of unions is to help workers or labourers have one combined instead of many voices to increase influence because they work as a combined group. These, in turn, enable workers to protect their rights in the workplace.
The Historical Influence of Unions
The historical influence of unions has been seen in the societies of the developed world. Unions help to provide a safe working environment, lessen child labour, and provide facilities to workers that are now considered as standard for job offers such as health insurance.
Unions are controversial in the US, but even more controversial in other countries. They are also known to create contracts that help to reduce the effectiveness of much business. Sometimes the driving cost becomes so high that the business owner goes into bankruptcy.
To help you handle this debate, we have developed a guide to some of the pros and cons of unions.
Pros of Unions
- Workers protection enhanced by unions
- Workers are now able to defend themselves
- Increases the power of negotiation
- Workers provide better facilities to their families
- Workers can earn more in the presence of unions
- Workers are not subjected to any personal favouritism
These are the most cited pros of unions and now explain them one by one.
Enhanced Protection of Workers by Unions:
Employment is provided with a contract in many areas of the developed countries. That means that a worker can be fired without any reason, especially the actions that don’t take place at the workplace.
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With the presence of unions, workers have a system of due process, which helps them to retain their employment. So, there must be an appropriate reason to initiate the termination of an employee.
Workers Are Now Able to Defend Themselves:
If a worker works in a non-union environment receives a disciplinary action statement related to their conduct, the only thing that they need t do is to attach their written response with the statement.
Therefore, in a union environment, workers have grievance processes that can be followed and may lead to arbitration, but if they don’t accept the disciplinary action that is taken against them.
Increases Power of Negotiation:
Workers of unions have guts to negotiate contracts as one combined unit. In the absence of unions, workers are usually forced to negotiate their wages and benefits on their own. This may limit their powers.
Employers can search for qualified workers who are willing to be paid less or receive only a few advantages as a way to save money. This also forces individuals to accept a substandard wage for their education or experience.
Workers Provide Better Facilities for Their Families:
When a worker finds a job in a unionized environment, 9 out of them will also get access to excellent benefits for their families. These facilities may include health insurance, life insurance, and most importantly, disability protections.
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About 90 per cent of the benefits that are enjoyed by their families, costs are covered by the worker. While in the case of non-union workers, only two-third of the benefits are covered by the worker. Moreover, only a few workers have access to family benefits because of their employment.
Workers Can Earn More in the Presence of Unions
In the U.S workers who are represented by unions in their workplace are paid almost about $200 per week before taxes. They also receive more employment benefits as compared to non-union workers, such as improved health facilities, more vocation per week, more sick days, and more paid holidays.
However, union workers also have the same access to overtime rules as non-union workers.
Cons of Unions
Here we have the most cited cons of unions. Let’s have a look!
- Unions provide no free representation
- Not only in search of experienced workers
- Unions actively participate in actions
- Unions may discourage the identities of individuals
- Unions play by applying a different set of rules
- Encourage dissent within the workplace
Unions Provide No Free Representation:
Unions demand workers to pay a fixed amount of their salaries, if they want to enjoy the benefits of representation, Most of the unions have set percentage of dues to be about 2.5 per cent or less but some only pay as little as 1.5 per cent.
However, some unions charge 3.5 per cent of dues or also a yearly fee to be verified members of a union event.
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Not Only in Search of Experienced Workers:
The structure of unions is organized in such a way that it creates a level playing field for workers. But within the structure of unions, seniority is more emphasized, and there is no assurance that if a worker who gets promotion will have the necessary skills to get the job done.
There are more chances that a worker who applies for the upgrade will be most likely to receive it.
Unions Actively Participate in Actions:
Most of the unions are politically active and also lobby government at the state, local and national levels. The cost for all effort of lobbies usually comes out from the price which workers have paid to unions to be representation members.
Many unions also ask their members to lobby for specific purposes at their own expense to support such efforts.
Unions May Discourage the Identities of Individuals:
Unions can encourage their members to come forward as one combined voice to maximize their power as a single group. Although this can be beneficial, there exist some drawbacks to such structures as well. This is how workers lose their identity, which also reduces their overall creativity.
Workers often find themselves under pressure to follow the rules set by unions regarding job performance. Most of the unions only need a majority vote to discuss core issues.
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Looking at the pros and cons, we can quickly evaluate the importance of unions as in our labour force, and we ate again at the transition point. Some are against, and some are in favour of unions.
By carefully pay heed to each key point, we can work together to determine the role of unions in the workplace. This guide contains all the pros and cons of unions.