The Pros And Cons Of The Labor Union

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According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report published in January this year, union membership in the United States hit an all-time low in 2016 with only an estimated 10.7% of wage and salary workers belonging to a union. While at their peak in 1954, roughly 28.3% of all workers were estimated to belong to unions, but membership has continuously declined ever since. There are many theories as to why this is, but due to how interconnected the topic of labor itself is with society, the economy, and political climate, there is no singular obvious cause. The theories overviewed here are Michael Goldfield’s sociological, cyclical, and political theories, Gordon Clark’s community theory, and Henry S. Farber and Alan B. Krueger’s demand theory.

Firstly, why is unions having less power than they used to a problem? In order to answer this, it is important to understand what unions do and what the benefits are. The main focus of a union is collective bargaining, which is when members of the union that represent the workers as a whole negotiate with their employers. Points of negotiation include wages, benefits, work hours, health and safety policies, and more. Unions are more capable and have more bargaining power during negotiations with more members. The labor movement as a whole led to the Fair Labor Standards Act which created the right to minimum wage, abolished child labor, and set a specific amount for overtime pay, the Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA) which allows

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