Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Benefits of Unions

Last week I discussed unions in general, including what a union is and the the history of unions in the United States. I intend to make every effort to present both sides of the union debate, starting with why unions are good. What exactly are the benefits of being unionized - according to the unions? The benefits can be grouped into three general categories: how employees are treated, how employees are paid and how employees can be disciplined or fired. In regards to how employees are treated, unions promise employees will be treated with dignity and respect at all times unilaterally. Unions say that without their representation each employee is subject to negative treatment if he or she is not particularly liked by the management. Unions promise to fight for better working conditions for all employees.

How employees are paid is obviously a very important issue for all working men and women. After all, most of us work in order to earn a salary. Unions promise to negotiate employee contracts that will guarantee wages and benefits which are not arbitrary. All aspects of wages, raises and benefits are spelled out in the union contract, which is voted on by all the union members. All employees are paid the same, based on time on the job and job function. How a specific employee is viewed by management has no effect on that employees wages or raises. In fact, unions claim that unionized employees are paid significantly higher salaries than non-union employees for the same jobs and receive much higher benefits, including pension, health insurance and paid leave. It is easier for the unions to negotiate with the employer for a large group of employees that it would be for individual employees to negotiate for themselves.

Finally, unions promise that employees will not be subjected to continuously changing policies in the workplace, unfair disciplinary policies or unfair termination of their employment. Unions promise to fight for each employees rights, including establishing a formal grievance process in which the union will provide legal assistance whenever necessary. Unions create an environment where the employer is prohibited from changing policies without going through an approval process and where employers cannot discipline or terminate an employee without fulfilling the requirements of the established process for these types of actions.

You can find additional information regarding the benefits of unions at the following sites:

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