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Labor Unions Essay

A labor union is as defined in the dictionary, an organization of wage earners formed for the purpose of serving the members’ interests with respect to wages and working conditions. Today there are about 16 million workers in the U.S. that belong to a labor union. The pressure upon the employers to raise wages and improve working conditions in a major goal of the labor unions. Labor unions have been around for a long time. The earlier unions were called craft unions, consisting of only a couple members who worked in the same craft. The way unions negotiate for an employment contract is by collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is negotiation between the representatives of organized workers and their employer or employers to determine wages, hours, rules, and working conditions. When in collective bargaining, the unions represent its members in negotiations rather than have each worker negotiate individually with an employer. In order for the collective bargaining process can start a union shop must be organized. A union shop is a business or industrial establishment whose employees are required to be union members or to agree to join the union within a specified time after being hired. Once a union shop is formed the union will look to negotiate a labor contract, which is a written agreement between the employer and the union representing employees. The labor contract sets the conditions of employment. Although many union contracts are worked out through collective bargaining, there are times when this process fails to bring agreement between the union and management. In looking to achieve the union;s goals, labor unions may use a variety of tactics. For example: striking, picketing, boycotting, slowdown, and in some cases illegal methods. A strike is when workers stop working for the purpose of gaining concessions from management. Strike is labor;s most powerful weapon because of the financial loss imposed upon the emp…

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