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Unions are very essential to today’s working-class world. Employees have more bargaining power once they join the union compared to when negotiating as an individual. There are critics of unions with some people arguing that it puts too many restrictions on both employees and employers. This article highlights the pros and cons of unions to help you weigh the benefits of joining a labor union.
1. Access to formal disputes and complaint processes: When you join the union, you have a better chance to raise any disputes and grievances for free. Non-union members have to pay a certain fee in case of any grievances or when they want to sue the employer.
2. Increased pay: Unions push for collective bargaining to ensure workers receive better pay and are in good working conditions.
3. Guaranteed pensions: Joining a union guarantees you more benefits and you’re assured of receiving a pension at the end of your employment term.
4. Health-related coverage: Union members receive job-related health coverages and medical care benefits compared to non-union employees.
5. Protection from unjust dismissal: Union members have a collective bargaining agreement and being a member you can’t be fired without a “Just Cause”.
6. Collective power to go on strike: Joining the union allows the employees to go on strike as a group to protest against labor conditions or as a bargaining tool during labor negotiations.
7. Better benefits: Union members can receive essential benefits from the employer like education, pay less for some benefits, more vacation days, and access to sick days among other benefits from the employer.
8. Collective bargaining: When workers come together, they increase their negotiation power in the company thus ensuring there is a fair negotiation of changes rather than imposing changes.
9. A voice: Workers will have a voice in the management discussion and this will not only ensure workers participate in management but also bring cooperation and coordination in the workplace.
10. Job security: There will be less turnover in unionized organizations. Employers will invest in the skills of employees since their unlikely to leave the firm. Employees will feel more motivated to work in the firm.
1. Initial fee and ongoing dues: You have to pay the union fee for you to join. There are also ongoing union dues that a deducted from your salary.
2. Discourages individuality: There is strength in numbers thus joining the union will generate “group thinks” and this reduces chances for individual creativity. You have to follow the decisions made by the union unless you resign.
3. Workplace hostility: Tension between the employer and employees due to union restriction can be counterproductive resulting in workplace hostility.
4. Attract corruption: Union leaders are elected to the position and sometimes these positions may attract a lot of corruption. If the union becomes corrupt, members will have a hard time voting out the corrupt leaders.
5. Political climate: Political attacks on union leaders and members may weaken the union and reduce gains made to support union members.
6. Discount worker’s education and experience: Workers receive job promotion and transfer based on seniority instead of based on education and experience. The first priority for promotion and layoff is given to those who worked longer in a particular position.
7. Follow majority rules: Once you join the union, you have to follow the majority regarding any strike or plans and are not be free to decide for yourself. The minority opinions do not matter.
8. Poor public reputation: Most unions do not get public approval and any organized strike may result in self-serving.
9. Loss of freedom: You belong to the union and you don’t have the right to negotiate for your pay or benefits that are in your best interest.
10. Subject to fine: If the union organizes a strike and you decide to work, you are subject to a fine or any other discipline imposed by the union.