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Published byIlene Andrews Modified over 7 years ago
Chapter 22.2 Labors Unions
Organized Labor Labor unions are groups of workers who band together to have a better chance to obtain higher pay and better working conditions. Workers who perform the same skills join a craft or trade union. Industrial unions bring together workers who belong to the same industry.
continued Organized labor has three levels: local national/international and the federation. A local union is made up of workers in a factory, company or geographic area. It negotiates a contract with a company and monitors the contract’s terms.
continued National unions are the individual craft or industrial unions that represent local unions nationwide. Those with members in Canada or Mexico are international unions. National unions help employees set up local unions and negotiate contracts. In certain industries, the national union negotiates the contracts for the entire industry.
continued At the federation level is the AFL-CIO. It represents 13 million workers nationwide. In the past some unions supported the closed shop. A worker would have to belong to the union to be hired. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 banned most closed shops.
continued The union shop is more common. Companies can hire nonunion workers, but the workers must join the union once they begin work. One part of the Taft- Hartley Act allows state gov’ts to ban union shops. 21 states have passed right-to-work laws, which prevent unions for forcing workers to join.
continued Workers in a modified union shop do not have to join the union. If they choose to join, they must stay in the union as long as they work for that employer. A majority of workers must vote in favor of a union before one can be formed. The National Labor Relations Board makes sure union votes are carried out honestly.
Negotiations Under collective bargaining, union and company representatives meet to discuss the terms of the workers’ new contract when the old one nears its end. Negotiations focus on wages, benefits, work hours and work rules.
continued If the two sides cannot agree on terms, they might try mediation, in which a 3 rd party tries to help them reach an agreement. In some cases, they choose arbitration. A 3 rd party listens to both sides and decides on a settlement. Both parties agree in advance to accept the arbitrator’s decision.
continued To pressure management to accept their position, workers can call a strike, in which all workers in the union refuse to work. Strikers often picket the business, marching in front of company buildings while holding signs. If striking doesn’t work, unions can encourage people to boycott, or refuse to buy, the company’s products.
continued Management can stage a lockout, in which the company blocks workers from entering. Management hopes lost wages will pressure workers to accept its terms.
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