How do labour unions work?
Many people unfamiliar with labor unions do not understand how they work. In general, labor unions represent the voice of their members. They work to ensure equality of wages, working conditions and health benefits.
Labor unions organize and represent the rights of employees in certain fields and industries. The average labor union represents its membership by negotiating on pay standards, benefits, and safety and security issues.
Union workers may strike as a negotiation tool during a collective bargaining situation. Typically, if the union and the employer do not reach an agreement before a set deadline, the union workers may stop working. Once a union goes on strike, usually other unions within the same company will not cross the striking union’s picket line. This shows support and solidarity for the striking union. Strikes can last any amount of time from a few hours to a few months, or even longer.
Many people have some familiarity with the term collective bargaining. When employees and employers negotiate to establish the conditions of employment, they are participating in collective bargaining. A collective bargaining agreement typically results from these negotiations. Normally a union represents the employees in a collective bargaining situation. Union representatives negotiate on behalf of the employees and disseminate information gathered during the negotiations to the union members.
Unionized workers have more power as a cohesive group than by acting individually. What you gain is the muscle of collective action
Labor unions have a large presence in political circles. Unions help shape and obtain legislature that secures and protects the rights of workers. Labor unions have secured legislature regarding family and medical leave, overtime, health and safety.
Thanks to labor unions, wages have improved, the workweek is shorter and the workplace is safer. However, employers sometimes complain that unions are harmful to business and to the economy. From an employee standpoint, is being a union member beneficial? Here are some pros and cons of union jobs. More access to benefits. All Unionized Workers were entitled to medical benefits.
Unmarried domestic partners — same sex and opposite sex — also had access more often to these benefits if they were unionized.
Non Union employees are typically hired ”at will,” meaning they can be fired for no reason. There are exceptions. Employers can’t terminate a worker for discriminatory reasons such as Race, Religion, Age and the like. Nor can they fire an at-will employee for being a whistleblower and certain other reasons.
However, workers with union jobs can only be terminated for ”just cause,” and the misconduct must be serious enough to merit such action. Before an employee can actually be fired, he or she can go through a grievance procedure, and if necessary, arbitration.
Strength in numbers
Unionized workers have more power as a cohesive group than by acting individually. What you gain is the muscle of collective action. Through collective bargaining, workers negotiate wages, health and safety issues, benefits, and working conditions with management via their union.
Rules differ among Collective Bargaining Agreements, but in the event of layoffs, employers usually are required to dismiss the most recent hires first and those with the most seniority last — sometimes called ”last hired, first fired.”
In some cases, a worker with a Union job who has more seniority may receive preference for an open job. Seniority also can be a factor in determining who gets a promotion. The idea is that seniority eliminates favoritism in the workplace.