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Importance of Having Labor Unions in the Workplace

By Edited Feb 10, 2014 0 2

Labor unions represent and voice out the interests of a group of workers on different employment issues like wages, work conditions, and leaves. In order to be protected by a union, workers are required to follow the terms that are included in the organization's contract and pay certain membership and initiation fees.

Different types of employees like teachers, mechanics, police officers, actors, doctors, janitors, writers, and airline pilots are allowed to join labor unions in the workplace. Union members can negotiate with their employer as one. The possibility that the employer will listen to the employees' needs is greater if they talk to him as a group because it will imply that a large portion of the workforce is asking for a certain change.

Enforcement of NLRA

The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) enabled employees to become union members without being fired or reprimanded. Before it was enacted in 1935, employers are free to blacklist, discharge, discipline, interrogate, or spy on union members.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) was created by the NLRA. It is in charge of enforcing the rights of employees and stopping employers from performing illegal labor practices, which might discourage employees from organizing a union or stop them from making a union contract.

However, after NLRA was introduced, numerous problems surfaced because some union members have abused the powers that were given to them. As a result, the Taft-Harley Act, also known as the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), was created in 1947. Under this law, labor unions are prohibited from:

  • Requiring too much membership or initiation fees from employers or employees

  • Stopping an employee from exercising his rights, which were provided by NLRA

  • Influencing employers (directly or indirectly) to discriminate a worker who refuses to join a union

  • Stopping the workforce from producing good results just to force their interests

More and more labor unions are being organized due to the enforcement of NLRA. In fact, statics show that in 2006, around 15.4 million individuals have already joined unions.

Many employees choose to a join union because of the benefits that they might receive through it. In fact, records show that about 92% of all union employees are enjoying their own job-related health insurance coverage.



Jul 30, 2010 5:34am
It is too important and agree too so our labour problems are solved easily
Jul 30, 2010 7:28am
There is so much anti-union sentiment floating around these days that I thought I would list a few of the benefits we ALL enjoy, thanks to the unions:
Minimum wage
No child labour
Workplace safety standards

None of these would have been possible without the labour unions!
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