The Power of Unions in the U.S Today

The legislation of National Labour Relation Act (NLRA) in the year 1935 marked a most important turning tip in the American labour record since it was deduced to place the power of government after the rights of workers. It strategized on how unions would be formed and achieved collective bargaining powers with the employers mainly on issues such as wages, hours and the working conditions. Despite the expectation, the NLRA has been faced with various disadvantages and long-term failures that have lasted for almost five decades now. In fact, the corporate world took a major role in moderating the legislation despite widespread opposition in the last form. A big question arises to why employers are opposed to unions whereas the workers are in favour of the unions. Initially, workers wish to have unions for defensive purposes in protecting what they consider as arbitrary decisions such as lay-offs, firings and sudden wage cuts. This paper will explore the power of union in the United States today.

Labour unions in the US are considered as the representatives of the employee in various industries as accepted under the American Labour law. Labour union activities are cantered on objectives of gaining collective bargaining powers on wage, working conditions, and benefits for the members (Hattam, 2014). Labour unions are the representative of the members in case of any disagreement with the employer in case of violation of the agreement. In fact, larger labour unions have been engaging in lobbying activities and electioneering within the state and federal ranks (Lichtenstein, 2013).
Many of the unions in the US have been supported by one or two main shade institutions. In the year 2016, in US there were 14.6 million union members. This number was down compared to 17.7 million union members in the year 1983. In general, the percentage of employees who were attached to union in the US was 10.7 percent in comparison to 20.1 percent in the year 1983 (Lévesque & Murray, 2010).
In the current century, the largely well-known unions in the United States are amongst public sector workers such as the government employees, city employees, police and teachers. The peak of union membership was experienced back in the year 1950. Despite this, American labour union are still political factor in terms of mobilizations of their memberships and via coalitions with similar-minded advocates institutions in areas of trade policy, living wage, immigrant rights campaigns (Hattam, 2014). In US, States that have high levels of union membership are considered to have high median incomes as well as standards of living.
United States Labour Unions Today
Currently, most of the labour unions in the country are either member of one or multi-large shaded institutions. All private sector labour unions are controlled by the National Labour Relations Act (NLRA) (Lichtenstein, 2013). The legislation is supervised by the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) which acts as a sovereign federal bureau and partially by state legislations. Generally, labour unions in the US have revealed vigorous expansion rate. This has been achieved since the wages and working conditions in various workplaces are set via negotiations with the selected state and local representatives (Hattam, 2014). Hence, these labour unions political powers tend to come to play and it is quite open that the government has no power of threatening them. As well, there are no threats sourced from other international labour unions (Lévesque & Murray, 2010).
The approach of joining a conventional trade union allows the workers to have a voluntary acknowledgment from the employer or achieve the majority employees in bargaining unit vote for the representation in Union. In any of the case, the government is expected to verify all recently formed labour unions (Lévesque & Murray, 2010). As well, there are different forms of unionism such as the solidarity unionism, minority unionism as well as practice of institution like the Industrial Workers of the World that does not abide with the conventional secretarial replica (Lichtenstein, 2013).
In the US, public sector employees are directed by the labour laws as well as labour board in each of the 50 states. Northern States tend to classically replica their rules and panels after the NLRA and the NLRB (Hattam, 2014). However, there are in other states where the public workers do not have any right of establishing a labour union as a lawful body. In fact, almost 40 percent of the US public workers have no rights of organizing lawfully founded unions. According to a review that was carried out by the federal government, it showed that workers who are members of labour unions tend to earn more with almost 33 percent income when compared to non-union workers. As well, the same workers were said to enjoy safe and higher quality working conditions and job security (Lévesque & Murray, 2010).
After a union has been able to win the majority of support for bargaining powers and well certified within workplaces, it maintain the solitary powers of negotiating the conditions for employment (Hattam, 2014). Despite this, under the regulation of NLRA, in case minority of workers vote for a union, such workers may form a union that will be representing their rights for those who only voted for the union (Lichtenstein, 2013). In fact, the minority replica was at time used widely, but was later abandoned when the unions started to constantly attain majority of support. However, currently the unions have been revisiting the issue of “member only” replica of unionism due to new changes made in the law where union are observing that workers capacity to organise has been curbed (Lichtenstein, 2013).
The union and the employer have the authority of agreeing upon the employment conditions in a lawfully obligatory agreement. In case of a dispute on the agreement, most agreement request parties to determine their disputes via complaint process to ensure that all differences are jointly decided. In case the employer and the union fail to agree upon the matter, either party may consider sending the disagreement to arbitration. Under arbitration the case has to be settled by a neutral party to the matter in hand (Lévesque & Murray, 2010).
Despite all these powers, there is the right-to-work decree tat prohibit unions from conferring agency shops and union shops. Hence, while these unions exist under the “right-to-work” situation, they are generally feeble (Lichtenstein, 2013). In addition, union members take pleasure in “Weingarten Rights.” As well, union members are auxiliary protected by NLRA. Rights of the workers in engaging in any form of “recital activity” are protected for common shelter or assistance. Hence, no union connection is required (Hattam, 2014).
The National Labor relation Act (NLRA) was a crucial turning point for the American labor history. The legislation introduced the power of governing the rights of the workers. This legislation has strategized the way union must be formed to achieve collective bargaining agreement with the employers mainly on issues such as hours, wage and working conditions. Despite all powers of labor union, the government holds the right to endorse any newly formed labor union. Labor union agrees on the working conditions and wage for their members.
Hattam, V. C. (2014). Labor visions and state power: The origins of business unionism in the United States. Princeton University Press.
Lévesque, C., & Murray, G. (2010). Understanding union power: resources and capabilities for renewing union capacity. Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 16(3), 333-350.
Lichtenstein, N. (2013). State of the union: A century of American labor. Princeton University Press.

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