8 Primary Advantages and Disadvantages of Labor Unions
Labor unions are organizations that represent groups of employees that work in a certain industry or company. They negotiate with the corporation about everything from vacation time, wages, work hours, benefits, and working conditions. They are most common in public position jobs, such as a plumber or construction worker, but can involve fields such as bankers as well. The benefits are pretty good for both sides of the fence, so why do companies loathe unions so much? Let’s look at what benefits and consequences are endured from joining a labor union.
Advantages of Labor Unions
1. Better Pay
One of the main goals of a union is to negotiate better and more fair pay for their members. This is one of the sole reasons that people are so eager to unionize, it guarantees a minimum of wage for all employees.
2. Job Security
Another great part of labor unions is that they supply their members with a great sense of job security. Part of the terms of unions is that there must be just cause in order to terminate an employee. They cannot be fired for small or unavoidable circumstances.
3. Power In Numbers
Coming together as an organized group gives you a lot more attention than lobbying for change on your own. Companies are forced to listen to unions, and negotiate their terms in a fair way.
4. Great Benefits
Health benefits are another one of the guaranteed rights of a labor union worker. All unionized workers are entitled to health care coverage, no matter how many hours they work or how long they have been employed by their company.
5. Increased Productivity
One of the biggest factors in productivity in the work place is the happiness of the employees. With a union, the employees know that their welfare is being looked after, which boosts morale and thus, productivity.
Disadvantages of Labor Unions
1. Abuse of the System
Members of labor unions know all of the terms and conditions of their employment. They are fully aware of what they can and cannot be terminated for, and use this to their own advantage. People take great advantage of the benefits of labor unions which harms the entire company.
2. Devalues Skilled Workers
All employees are paid the same, no matter how valuable their skills are or how hard they work. This is a great disservice to people who put their all into their work and are truly good at what they do. It also prevents workers from doing “extra” because they know that they will not be acknowledged for it. Another big problem with labor unions is that they often have high dues in order to be represented.
3. It Holds You Back
Seniority rules in a labor union. The people who have been there the longest will be first in line for all job promotions or openings in their company, no matter if they deserve it or not. Simply being there longer does not always mean that you are more deserving of a job upgrade then others. This hurts the people and the company because the people who would actually be great at the job, and provide an improvement in the company are not allowed to get it, simply because of labor union rules.