Labor unions are organizations that represent the collective interest of employees. They help workers to negotiate with employers over wages, hours of working, the benefits, and other working conditions.
They are often industry-specific and tend to be more common in manufacturing, mining, construction, transportation, and the public sector. Effective unions tend to help maintain traditional pensions.
Pros of Labor Unions
- Easier to organize it politically
Unions help the candidate to focus on issues that matter to the worker. The members support the political agenda of the union and this makes it easier for the candidate to speak about the issues concerning their working conditions.
- They are economic settlers
Even though the American unions have not achieved 100%, they do impact trends that benefit all the workers such as wages and overtime payments.
- Leads to higher wages
When the unions are strong, they are able to make the employer pay its employees a good sum of money as they will rise against and complain over the amount being paid to them as compared to the work that they do.
- They provide protection to workers
It is not easy to mistreat workers as there will be laws that protect the workers. In the case of sacking a worker it has to be procedural and the worker has to be paid the years of service after that hence the unions make workers not to be exploited by the employer.
- They help families of the workers receive benefits
In case an eventuality happens to an employee in the course of working, then the unions will help the family to receive the benefits of the employee.
- Creates an opportunity for frequent negotiations
Through the unions, the employees are able to negotiate frequently with the employer over the amount of work being done and the wages being provided hence it assists the employees to be paid according to the work they do.
- Better services of funded retirement
The unions make it possible for the employees to get access to the retirement benefits from the employer. This makes it easier for the employees to get the money after the retirement age has reached.
Cons of Labor Unions
- They have a hierarchal environment
Many employees are to go through the leaders in the company to be able to present an issue to the employer and this may lead to misunderstandings as the issue may be presented differently from the way it was.
- They can have poor public reputations
When the employees have ever heard of the union’s reputation, it may not be easy for them to be part of the union hence it may lack revenue.
- Job bumping arrangements
Senior workers can be made to transfer to lower jobs by removing certain posts and this may lead to some workers being laid off without proper procedure.
- It discourages individuality
One cannot be able to present a complaint facing him or her as an individual. This may make few employees suffer in the hands of the others as they will not be listened to by the employer unless the problem is being faced by many.
- May get involved in activities that other workers do not agree upon
Some workers in the union may not agree with the opinions of the leaders in the union but they may be forced to agree as the leaders are the ones that present the issues to the employer.
- It needs initiation fees
When a worker is a member of a certain union, he or she will be forced to be deducted some amount from the salary for it to be used as initiation fees. Some unions may have high initiation fees and yet they do little to their employees.
- They make it harder to terminate and promote employees
Some unions do not promote the most performing workers and this may make it difficult for an employee to improve the salary he or she is earning regardless of all the efforts that are put in place to perform better.
- Can discount worker education and experience
Many jobs in unions come with seniority and not education experience hence it really discourages some of the employees are more experienced and educated.
- There can be a possibility of corruption
Some unions can have corrupt leaders which will end up only defending certain employees and this can bring chaos in the unions.
Labor unions work best if the leaders that are chosen are ready to work on behalf of other employees as they will present the concerns of the employees depending on the working conditions hence the employees will benefit from being the members of the unions.