Week 10 – Blog Assignment

I spoke with my father, who has been a part of the Local 525 Plumber and Pipefitter Union for almost 25 years, to gain perspective on what being in a union is like. His consensus overall was that his union has been a very beneficial thing for him and our family over the years. In construction, during times of economic turmoil, most individuals in the trades do not remain employed. My dad explained that during the 2008 recession, he was able to support our family with the unemployment money he received from his membership, as well as having help finding work through the opportunities the Hall provided. He also said that being in a union has allowed him to have significantly better wages and benefits, as well as better working conditions. One of the downsides that he mentioned was that the union dues can be annoying, especially when you’re starting off as a lower paid apprentice.

After our conversation, I also researched some of the pros and cons that come with being in a labor union. Other pros that had not been mentioned were having a greater sense of job security and having greater capabilities of moving up on a social scale and improved lifestyle due to higher wages and better work life. Some cons that were found included having less autonomy and power to make decisions, unions utilizing funds improperly, slower advancement due to seniority rankings, and higher workplace tension with your employer (Maryville, 2022).

In terms of the management side, which is where I will be focused in during my career in construction management, there appears to be a general consensus that labor unions are somewhat of a pain. There’s evidence that employers resist unions due to union workers requiring higher wages and benefits, seniority and scheduling rules, and also putting higher constrain on what managers can and can’t do (Swift, 2022). In my time in internships and schooling, I’ve been told that us project managers want to keep the union members happy cause they can make your life very difficult if you don’t. This results in higher project costs for union requirements such as religious breaks and much higher budget for labor expenses. There appears to be somewhat of a negative consensus that union workers are higher maintenance and work at a much slower rate for a lot more money than non-union. But they’re also a more dependable source of labor.

Given the differing perspectives I have been provided on labor unions, overall I plan on supporting the unionized workers that I will be working with throughout my career. I think having a better understanding of how unions work and why they matter, as explained by my father, will allow me to maintain a productive relationship with these coworkers. Even with the project management stigma regarding unions, I hope that my interactions only encourage an equally beneficial dynamic between my project teams and the unions we work with on site.


Maryville University. (2022, April 12) What are the pros and cons of unions? Maryville Online. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://online.maryville.edu/blog/pros-and-cons-of-unions/

Swift, M. (2022, November). Lecture 1: Intro to Labor Relations. [PowerPoint Slides].

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *