Initially, the intent of labor unions was for employed workers to meet together and collectively agree on fundamental workplace objectives and goals. The rise of the union came about after the Civil War, in the United States- responding to the industrial economy boom. Following the war, labor unions finally reached public popularity within the 1930-1950’s, and then again began to slowly decrease, through the 1960’s and on to today’s times. Although, the popularity of labor unions has decreased, its importance remains to be evident with politics, journalism, auto, and the public education industries.
In the past 50 years the membership in labor unions have decreased, and at a rapid pace. There are many reasons why the membership has decreased, but the focus will be on four main reasons. The first reason being that in today’s
The role of unions and their importance has changed over the years. A mixture of poor wages, high unemployment, non-existent benefits and insignificant professional stability amongst the more youthful era makes a ready demographic for restoration. The younger era is the slightest unionized section of our general public today by a long shot. Unions are important in today’s society because checks and balances are necessary entities in business and government, so if CEOs are just focusing on themselves and profits, unions are a necessary check to all that corporate power. Today and in the future, labor unions will continue to play an important role in our country 's work force and the quality of life for working families.
Labor unions are a gathering of people for a united cause. People within a labor union fight for common goals such as better pay and fair working conditions. In most cases when a union attacks a certain aspect it is so they can all acquire the same out come, such as raising the minimum wage to twelve dollars an hour for all. The primary reason unions were created was because workers weren’t always treated appropriately throughout history. Industrial leaders would make maximum profit by making their employees work twelve to fifteen hour workdays for seven days a week and they would only earn pennies for each hour of work. The conditions in which employees conducted work was unsafe and unhealthy yet no one could complain because they could not afford to lose their job. This is when labor unions were introduced, at first they started off small only pertaining to a specific geological area in regards to a specific craft such as shoe making in Philadelphia. The smaller unions are known as locals, an employee affiliated with the union is then appointed as a liaison between their fellow workers and the corporation making them the shop steward. However, people realized they held power in numbers and ultimately national unions were established such as the, Knights of Labor.
Labor Unions: Aging Dinosaur or Sleeping Giant? The Labor Movement and Unionism Background and Brief History Higher wages! Shorter workdays! Better working conditions! These famous words echoed throughout the United States beginning in “1790 with the skilled craftsmen” (Dessler, 1997, p. 544). For the last two-hundred years, workers of all trades have been fighting for their rights and “seeking methods of improving their living standards, working conditions, and job security” (Boone, 1996,p.287). As time went by, these individuals came to the conclusion that if they work together collectively, they would grow stronger to get responses to their demands. This inspired into what we know today as labor unions. “A labor union
Labor unions have existed in one form or another in the United States since the birth of the country. They were created in an effort to protect the working population from abuses such as sweatshops and unsafe working conditions. On the other hand, they have also been accused of crippling industries and consorting with organized crime over the decades. But in one way or another, labor unions have been
Although the 19th century brought about many injunctions and antitrust laws prohibiting union activity, the early 20th century would bring hope to laborers and ultimately be known as the labor’s greatest strides toward unification and legal protection. One of the first examples of progress was during World War I. Due to so much unrest between the managers and laborers, a widespread of fear engulfed the United States. Most were afraid that a shutdown of the railroads was imminent which would create a threat to national security. In 1916, the government decided to intervene and take control of the railroads (Federal Possession and Control Act) in the event a strike was initiated. This action would allow soldiers to step in and replace any striking workers. This became one of the first legislation to construct some sort of union but ended in 1920 and the railroads were handed back to their owners
Unions do provide a lot of good services to its members, such as higher wages, better hours, more benefits, and safer working conditions. There is a price to pay for these services, though. Every union requires its members to pay dues, whether they are in the form of a percentage of each paycheck, or a flat rate. The money form dues goes towards lobbying politicians to pass union-friendly legislation, or better labor laws. The money also finances officers in the union organization, who are the ones calling the shots, as far as labor negotiations are concerned.
Labor unions have been in America for a very long time. There are many unions in a myriad of different fields. Labor unions were and are used to allow for equal treatment of workers. Employers always want to maximize their profits and they try to give the least to get the most in return. For reasons such as this is why unions were formed. Generally a union boss is appointed or hired to protect the rights and privileges of the employees. The union boss is generally very representative of the demographics of the workers. The leader of the employees needs to know what they want and what is fair for them and this is why he tends to represent one type of work force, such as
Labor unions and movements play an important role in the United States. Although they are treated synonymously, the labor movements encompass a broader scope than labor unions. Some of the examples of current labor unions and movements include National Guestworker, Domestic Workers United and Wal-Mart workers groups. The heart of the current labor initiatives in the United States can be traced back to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (Collier & Collier, 2002). The labor law was imperative since it was intended to put the power of the government behind the worker’s right to organize unions and bargain collectively with their employers on issues such as wages, hours and working conditions. In the last thirty years, labor unions have
A major topic that comes up with unions is getting better wages for the employees. This is one of the main reasons that unions came to be. Workers of all fields were tired of being paid unfairly by big companies. They realized that they needed a way to organize themselves to fight for better pay. Unions helped aid in this fight. According to History.com, “ The formation of the Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers (shoemakers) in Philadelphia in 1794 marks the beginning of sustained trade union organization among American workers.” This was the first time workers tried to organize themselves to get more money for what they did. A key way that unions used workers to make businesses meet their demands was organized strikes. With these organized strikes, the big companies had to comply with some of the demands to raise the employee 's wage, or it would cost them more money in the long run. Strikes are a very powerful tool that unions have used often in the past. Unions orchestrated the strikes in the past pretty well, and the majority of strikes accomplished the goal they were trying to complete. Unions have always fought with companies to give the workers the pay they deserve.
Also, Workers don't usually engage with union politics. The labor movement is viewed as a subject of the Democratic Party and an advocate of liberal causes. And lastly, most citizens now turn to the government instead of unions, for basic protections. Civilians now rely on the government for healthcare, pensions, protection and many different varieties that were excluded from the unions. And, unless the unions find a way to change its decline, they run the danger of their membership falling into irrelevance. (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008)
If unions are that beneficial to workers, why the increasing decline? Several reasons come into play. One issue being, there has been a rapid growth within particular categories, such as women. There are more women currently in the labor force, who are more prone to working sporadically and half the time compared to others. Secondly, there has been a decline in union’s actively engaging new members, as well as their being a steady increase in the employer’s unwillingness to take part in unionization attempts. Additionally, because society has shifted from unionized corporations with a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy has made it more difficult to unionize. Although, there have been uncontrollable and controllable forces that have led to the decreasing popularity of unions, they have still managed to make up for it in vital areas, such as wages, benefits, working conditions, and others. Whether or not individuals view labor unions as positive or negative organizations, they will always matter.
The relationship between unions and organization is a touchy one. Dating back to the start of unionization in the 19th century, the two bodies have held opposing viewpoints. Unionization was formed from the opinion that organizations took advantage of workers and some form of a negotiating agreement was needed. There were documented events of workers working long taxing hours for insignificant pay; no healthcare coverage; dangerous working conditions; and gender and or racial discrimination. Companies believed that unionization caused less productivity which endangered profits. Companies also believed that unions interfere in daily processes, and limits the employer’s say over compensation and benefits. The
As any organization, Labor Unions have both sides, the positive and negative. These are some pros and cons to have a clearly idea of being or become a member of these organizations.