Week 10 Blog

Labor unions primarily work by collective bargaining, a tactic that involves gathering a group of workers to negotiate with business owners about pay and working conditions. Labor unions can threaten to go on strike if employers don’t consider their demands, giving workers an advantage. Historically, workers had few employment options and were forced to work in poor conditions for little pay because employers had easy access to a large labor pool. Today, labor unions can negotiate wages, working hours, vacation time, working conditions, better benefits, and even better job security as union members can only be fired “for cause” or poor performance. Though there are many benefits associated with being in a union, there are some downsides to being a member; many unions have rules that favor seniority leaving slow paced job advancement, there are union charges, union workers are bound to the decisions made by the union so there is less autonomy, and there is often an improper use of funds within these unions (Maryville University. 2022).

I have a family friend who is in a union, she is specifically apart of the coalition of Kaiser Permanente Union which recently just had a strike on the west coast. She has her pros and cons of the union but overall feels that unions are a necessity for healthcare workers. Kaiser Permanente has been in the hot seat these past few years highlighting key issues like unsafe working conditions, unsafe patient to nurse ratios, wait time on paychecks, and inefficient policies. Because of the recent strikes they were able to reach an agreement, however this is where my family friend has issues with the union, as discussed above union workers are bound to the decisions made by the union and this can lead to disagreements between decisions negotiated on.

I would consider joining a union however they would need to have a well compensatory benefits package and the ability to move up in the organization. I think unions are great, though I don’t always agree with the decisions made by unions I believe they are beneficial to our society and would do more harm without.