16 Pros and Cons of Labor Unions

Since 1794 AD, a sustained Labor Union amongst workers and laborers have been encircling the Industrial tides straddling into the socio-economic impact of Industrial Revolution. In mid 90s, the national labor unions started to form in order to negotiate with an employer collectively, to ensure and protect the rights and interests of the workers. 

Since the establishment of the first trade union called the National Labor Union at 1866 AD, the provision of higher wage and benefit standards, the limits of working hours, safer working conditions and more, the movement led efforts to cease child labor too. 

However, has the movement impacted the labors of the society in a progressive manner? Or has it led to the downfall of the employers, and their employment approaches? Let’s overview. 

Cons of unions

Here are some of the cons of unions as listed beneath:

Workers against the Corporation:

As the labor unions are the backbones of labor’s unheard voices, they might mutualize the opportunity to set workers against the companies for their own benefit. This misleads the workers into creating conflicts, in turn disrupting the working culture of the company. 

Initial Fee for Membership:

Some labor unions charge initial membership fees for the labors in order to join in the union. Hence, the workers are bound to pay a share of their wages at an approximate of 1-3% of their earning, to be a member of the respective union. 

Insecure Future of Labors in the Company:

Sometimes, the labors are misguided by the labor unions, establishing an inferior relationship between the company’s management and the labors. This not only ruptures the trust scenario between the management and the labors, but also provokes insecurity of the labor’s position in the company as he/she may be disbanded by the company for their unworthy behaviour. 

Unintended Work Disturbances:

Sometimes, the union may call for a protest or a temporary strike that may elongate for a certain period of time. In this case, the workers are bound to participate in the events without working, which may lead to no-pay days as of their absence to work in the company, impacting their family and household too.

Unprofessional Work Ambience:

As the workers are influenced by the labor unions to maintain the proper governance and optimum wages, things are likely to go out of hand if the company mistreats the workers or pays their wages deducting a certain amount, regardless of the loss bearing of the company. This leads to the cold war between the company management and the workers, as they are backed up by labor unions consistently. 

Frail Negotiations:

As a labor is bound to a union, he/she doesn’t have an individual right for negotiation of his/her rights and interests with the company management. Hence, the collective negotiation of the union may hamper some workers at time, as they are forced to accept low wages and frail benefits.

Differentiation in the members of Union:

The labor union is a senior-favored association, lowering the chances of an adept or skilled worker to get promoted or reach their full potential. Furthermore, the workers who are hired at last tend to get fired at first if any layoff occurs, regardless of their consistency and expertise. 

High Cost Propositions of Union:

The unionized workers are paid higher wages compared to that of non-unionized workers. This not only leads to the higher investment in the labor by the company, the chance of hiring non-unionized workers is the best-case scenario for the company too. 

Pros of Union

However, there are some upper hands of labor unions too. Here are some pros of unions as listed beneath: 

Higher Wages:

The unionized workers and labors community are paid 30% higher amount than that of non-unionized community, all thanks to the labors union. Also, the workers have a better reach to the rights and work practices as compared to that of non-unionized workers. 

Pension Provision:

The unionized workers are provided after-retirement benefits, i.e. an adequate pension provision plan after they stop working. This is the major advantages provided by the labor unions. 

Preferable Insurance Policies:

Due to the labor unions, the workers outstretch a better insurance policy, as the company provides work-related health coverage and other medical amenities. As per the survey, 92% of the union workers have the work-related insurance, while the non-union workers only have 68% of work-related insurance coverage. 

Safe Work Ambience:

The statistics shows that the unionized work sites have lesser health and safety violations. As there is a union representative to investigate the injury and fatalities of a worker if any, the union workers are safeguarded from unintended consequences in the workplace, and are allowed to report the safety and health issues to the representative too.    

A collective Strength:

Being in a union, the workers tie up with each other to raise their voice strongly for any disputed cause. At the instances of any heinous matters in the workplace, or while the workers need to upraise their rights and work interests, the collective power of union acts as a stronger ally to outperform the consequences in the righteousness of the workers. 

A Political Organization:

As the workers are the citizens of the country, they have the power to transpose the political system, and the labor union aids to succeed it. Hence, the labor unions can stand as a national organizations too, amplifying the political voices of the workers throughout the nation. 

Protection of Right to Work:

The employers, or companies may sometime fire the workers without any prior cause or notice. If the workers are unionized, the labor union shall back up their employment retention, acting as a defense organization against the companies to safeguard the worker’s right and work interests. 

Realization of one’s work Ethics and Worthiness:

As the labor union provides the unionized workers a pathway to negotiate better at companies regarding their work rights and interests, it aids the workers to know their worth, which in turn makes them better at work ethics, valuing their tiresome efforts. Hence, they can easily acknowledge their wage worth, and the work interests as per their requisite while working at a company.   

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