Student Blog for MGMT 453- Human Resources Management
Labor Unions & Relations: Promoting Advocacy or Uniformity?
Labor Unions provide everyday people working in large companies to feel heard and advocated for, but there may also be some downsides to these groups, too.
Labor unions are forces to be reckoned with. Employees band together and use their size to advocate for the things they want and need from their employers. Many times this includes things like livable wages, safe working conditions, healthcare access, and more. Unions are able to accomplish what a singular employee cannot, and while they offer many pros, there are occasionally cons that arise.
In an article from Vitanna, a personal finance blog, Louise Gaille discusses the pros and cons of joining a labor union. Below I have included some of her most important points:
Vitanna’s Pros & Cons
|1. Advocacy is guaranteed||1. Requires skilled negotiation on BOTH sides|
|2. Employees gain a collective voice||2. Needs dues and fees to operate|
|3. Potential for a better retirement||3. Can limit individuality|
|4. Union Structure can remove favoritism||4. Can create a combative environment|
When I think of labor unions, the first thing that comes to mind is media coverage on nurse and teacher strikes as unions demand better pay and working conditions. Often times, this seems to be the only way for professionals in fields like those to get the things they need out of their employers. You don’t really hear about congressmen going on strike for better pay, do you? Labor unions are incredibly impactful for people in professions where their work is seldom appreciated and often overlooked, like production lines, healthcare workers, teachers, transportation operators, and more.
Personally, I do not see myself joining a labor union unless I join a profession where constant negotiation for pay and conditions is typical. However, I do think it’s an empowering opportunity to connect with peers and all types of people who share similar struggles in their professional lives, and encouraging each other to demand better from their employers. More often than not, people who do not have a college education, do not speak english as their first language, or are victims of systemic oppression do not have the resources or skills to advocate for better work environments, in which having a support group that can advocate for them is absolutely needed.