The pros and cons of unions


Unions have pros and cons in the field of employment and trade. Some of the pros of unions include; first, “they guarantee better salaries and wages to workers.” A statistical analysis done by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010 confirmed that nonunion workers earn about $200 less than union workers of their median income. Secondly, unionized workers have access to health and medical benefits. The National Compensation Survey released in 2011 represented that about 93% of unionized workers were guaranteed medical benefits. Third, it ensures job security to the effect that arbitrary laying off and firing of workers without reason or on discriminatory reasons does not occur. Fourth, it strengthens workers’ relationships and cohesiveness in the workplace. “Through unions, workers have better platforms and the strength of masses when negotiating wages, working conditions and any issues affecting them.” Fifth, it promotes seniority and eliminates favoritism. It differs depending on the particular unions, however in most of them, junior employees are usually first to be fired when layoffs are done and seniority is considering when promotions are issued.

Some of the cons of unions include; “first, they result in loss of individual autonomy since members inevitably sacrifice individual opinions and are bound by group decisions to ensure job security.” Secondly, union members are subjected to initiation fees and union dues that are primarily used to conduct and effect the union business. However, members are often displeased and dissatisfied with the money they pay and the expenditure of the union. Third, coordination is often difficult and cumbersome since the union has to make decisions based on the consensus of the members. This at times disadvantages the minority numbers since the views of the majority often uphold.

Unions still serve an important purpose in society, therefore, are relevant today. This is because the modern issues that affect workers include those that unions seek to address. In fact, with the overemphasis of capitalism and profit making in workplaces, workers are more vulnerable to disadvantages and discrimination. “Therefore, there is the need to have unions to ensure conducive, safe, and quality working environments, fair wages and benefits as well as collective representation in modern society.”

Bargaining involves negotiations by unions on work related issues affecting them such as wages, working conditions, benefits, and terms of employment among others. There are different types of bargaining namely; collective bargaining, cooperative bargaining, productivity bargaining, and composite bargaining. Collective bargaining can be considered the best option because it enables workers to speak together in one unified voice. “Collective bargaining preserves respect and integrity in work places since workers are able to air their views and grievances in an organized manner thus maintaining discipline and safe working environments.”


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