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Union Advantages and Disadvantages Essay

Advantages and disadvantages when being in a union The National Labor Relations Act was enacted by congress in 1935 in order to define and defend the rights of the employment relationship. The act allows employees of a company the right to form a union and have the union organization represent them through collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is the process of negotiation between both parties; Union representatives and a corporation, with the purpose of reaching an agreement for the best interests of employees and the corporation.

In the negotiation process the attempt is to establish primary factors of importance which are advantages the union fights for and ultimately provide for its stakeholders that would otherwise not have if there were no union representation. Advantages include job security, higher wages, affordable healthcare coverage and specialized job duties. However, there are disadvantages associated with labor unions along with their benefits such as strikes, loss of individuality and union dues. Secure Job In a competitive global economy where there are layoffs and job loss the union difference is job security.

Unions are often able to make sure that the hard working and experienced employees are protected against unjustifiable causes. When the company decides to improve technology and bring new machinery as a form of making more production the union prevents technology from replacing the worker. If the worker is punished, suspended or terminated without just cause, representatives from the union and lawyers will go investigate and defend your position. If unfair corrective action is found against employee union has the right of reversing such action by removing unfair discipline, or if fired unjustly having his/her job back.

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Job security is an advantage in a unionized workplace vs a non union workplace because when a union is involved they give you voice to participate in having an influence withing the decisions being made for the betterment of the company. The union in response protects you from any type of reprimands whereas non union workplaces the worker has no voice. The employer makes all the rules, sets the wage rates, makes all decisions on things like discipline, promotions and hours of work. Higher Wages

In a union environment the union bargains with the employer for a contract and makes sure that such contract is carried out. In this contracts both parties define various important aspects such as wages. Workers pay is higher when they are in a union. “The median weekly earnings of union workers are 28 percent higher than non-union workers”. “According to a January 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, workers who belong to a union typically earn higher pay than non-union workers doing the same kind of job.

Although it varies based on sector and occupation”. $917 = Median weekly earnings in 2010 of union members. $717 = Median weekly earnings in 2010 of non-union workers. T ‘ That’s a yearly difference in salary of $10,400 for union members vs. non-union members Estimates varies depending on sector and occupation. Differences among public unionized sector vs public non unionized amount a higher salary than private sector either union or non union. An important factor of higher wages in a unionized workplace is that it helps the economy grow.

One of the main reasons of why our current recession happened is that workers do not have the purchasing power they need to help the economy grow. Union provide workers to earn a significantly higher average in wages than non union workers. A sustainable economy is where workers are adequately rewarded and have the income they need to purchase goods and boost the economy. Higher wages are necessary for a variety of reasons most importantly helps improves the standard of living and gives the worker a sense of being a valuable asset to the company by such reward.

Affordable Healthcare Coverage “In 2009, 92 percent of union employees in the U. S. had access to health care benefits, compared to only 68 percent of non-union workers. The union advantage is even greater when you compare the percentages of union vs. non-union workers receiving specific benefits:” Dental Care: Union, 70% | Non-union: 44% Vision care: Union, 53% | Non-union: 24% Prescription drug benefits: Union, 90% | Non-union, 68% The out of pocket costs for individuals is also less than that of non union individuals.

At collective bargaining this benefits are fought for so that insurance coverage is more affordable. Workers are also more likely to receive workers’ compensation. Union members also get their benefits faster, and return to work more quickly. When workers are injured, unions help workers through the often complicated process of filing for workers’ compensation and protect workers from employer retaliation. They receive provisions that are made for weekly payments in place of wages, as a compensation for economic loss or reimbursement or payment of medical and other expenses. Job Specialization

A well defined job duty involves giving workers individual job tasks to remove the responsibility of other jobs and reducing the worker’s capacity to one task in particular. Job specialization became common place during the industrial revolution with the creation of factories. Factory owners would not simply hire one worker who produces all the goods. The work is divided among many different workers and each employee becomes an essential element in the process of creating the product. Specialization creates an increase in efficiency as workers become more skilled in the specific jobs they do.

Employees in a factory who are responsible for only one part of the process become as skilled as they possibly can in that process without the distraction of learning other skills. Hours and job duties are well defined. During the industrial revolution workers tended to work in horrible working conditions to go along with the bad hours. The typical work day back then lasted anywhere from 10-18 hours per day, six days a week. All of this began to change in the in the 19th century. United States began to work towards a shorter work day in 1791 when workers in Philadelphia were striking for a ten hour total work day.

But finally in 1937 the eight hour work day was implemented and regulated by the federal government. It stipulates that workers were not to work more than 44 hours per week and any hours over 40 required of the worker were to be paid with overtime bonuses added to their normal pay rate. Union enforces and fights for this rights at collective bargaining Union representation established the eight hour work day as one of their primary goals. Strikes One of union representation’s greatest advantages can also be one of its main disadvantages: the ability to engage in economic strikes.

The decision to strike for improved wages or working conditions is a serious subject that requires a thorough analysis of the strike’s likelihood for success before it is undertaken. Union officials need to be experienced and knowledgeable about the many economic and social factors that will be brought to bear on striking employees before they make a decision. Incorrect judgments about striking can be harmful to employees who choose to engage in this activity. When a union is certified as the exclusive employee representative, employees become members of an overall bargaining unit in which the majority rules.

Union leaders make decisions for all employees, which many may deem not to be in their best individual interest. Employers of striking workers have the legal right to continue to operate their business with permanent replacement employees who need not be discharged once the strike ends. If such circumstances are present for the employee, the best that they can expect is to be reallocated when an employment vacancy occurs fro which they are qualified. They are not entitled to immediate and unconditional reinstatement or back pay when their jobs are filled in by permanent replacements.

Unfortunately they face such risk of losing their job and earn no money for a period of time that puts a financial burden on your family. Loss of individuality Another disadvantage for unionized workers is the loss of individuality. When a union is certified as the exclusive employee representative in a workplace, employees become members of an overall bargaining unit in which the majority rules. The ruling majority may not be sympathetic with each individual’s specific employment needs or aspirations. Individual agreements etween employees and management are not allowed because the employer is under an obligation to deal exclusively with the union. The union leaders make decisions for all employees, which many may not be in the best interest of the individual. Loss of individuality is primary concern for many employees, as well as the loss of opportunity to negotiate for themselves an individual agreement. Union dues Still another disadvantage of union representation is the cost to employees. Most collective bargaining agreements require all employees to support the union financially as a condition of their continued employment.

Federal law provides that employees may, regardless of the what is spelled out in the agreement, opt not to formally join the union; however they may still be required to pay certain dues and initiation fees. The union can demand the discharge of any employee who fails to pay required dues and fees unless a right to work law has been enacted in the state where the business operates. The cost of union membership vary widely from union to union but regardless of the cost, fees represent an expense to workers that they would not otherwise have.

Michigan is one state that does not have a right to work law, a union worker from this state pays hundreds of dollars per year as a result of dues requirements. There are many advantages and disadvantages that come to mind when it comes to working with unions. Employees can come across a great deal of advantages and disadvantages in the event that they take on union membership. Despite of the drawbacks involved in the union-employer relationship, labor unions have been successful in helping raise the standard of living of millions of people during the nineteenth and twentieth century through better wages and other benefits.

These benefits would not have been provided without the work done by labor unions. Many early leaders were prosecuted, harassed or gave their lives for labor movement in the United States. Some strikers were subjected to fire hoses, attack dogs and armed guards. These sacrifices Americans see that laws were needed to protect the right of workers. If labor unions were to disappear laws protecting workers rights would be repealed and without unions, workers would not be able to have a voice in the political process.

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