Benefits Of Labor Unions

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Labor Unions In the United States, labor unions are organizations which fight for workplace justice and to improve the quality of life for the average working family. They are typically made up of an organized group of workers who band together to make decisions or lobby about conditions affecting their collective workplaces. There are over 60 unions representing over 14 million workers throughout the country (What is a Union, 2015). Most people believe that unions only represent industrial workers but this is not the case. Unions actually represent the interests of all laborers, no matter what they actually do. Whether you are a farmer, teacher, doctor, plumber, factory or office worker, you have a union that represents you and that you …show more content…
This automatically places union members at a greater advantage, but this is just one collateral advantage to being a union member. There are four primary advantages to union membership: collective bargaining, higher wages, better benefits, and representation (What are the Benefits, 2012). The cornerstone of the labor union is its collective bargaining ability. When workers unite to increase negotiating power, collective bargaining becomes possible. Union workers elect council members to voice their concerns to the employer, allowing individual grievances to be made and solved by the union. Another top benefit of belonging to a union is that you typically have a higher wage than a non-union worker. Union workers get about 20 percent more in terms of wages (not including benefits) compared to others in similar jobs that aren’t supported by a union (What are the Benefits, 2012). Also, due to collective bargaining and terms that are set forth in wage agreements from the onset, union workers tend to get more frequent and higher …show more content…
While non-union workers must contact the human resources department to resolve an employment issue, union workers have the union to bargain on their behalf. Since the HR department is also part of the company, this may place the employee at a disadvantage; so having the union on their side can be comforting to employees.
History of Labor Unions Labor unions first originated during the European industrial revolution in the eighteenth century. However, the United States did not see its first union until the nineteenth century when the National Labor Union (NLU) was founded in 1866. Being the first of its kind, the NLU saw very little success in its battle for worker’s rights; however its mere existence set a lasting and important precedent.
The most famous American union, the American Federation of Labor (AFL), was founded in 1886. During its peak, the AFL had approximately 1.4 million members. It was the first labor union to successfully negotiate wage increases and enhance workplace safety. Labor unions continued to develop and expand through the early 1950’s and in 1955 the AFL merged with the second largest labor union, The Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Union membership peaked around 1970 and has continued to increase steady

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