In the early part of the 20th century, it was the employers that had all the leverage. They set the conditions, the pay, and the working hours. At some point the workers had decided that enough was enough and banded together to fight management. This lead to better pay, better conditions and limits to the hours that could be worked. This also lead to things like overtime pay, and health benefits for employees. However, it looks like the unions might be facing some hurdles these days.
There are some political opposition to unions today. One of the main conservative complaints against Barack Obama is his catering to the unions and how they are spun to represent “big labor.” Whether this is true or not can be debated, but it goes to show that the unions aren’t exactly loved by all, and control upon them is sought to make sure they don’t get out of hand.
If you think about it, some jobs just wouldn’t work if there were unions. There are specific rules that have to be followed if a company has a union. While it leads to better pay and job security, there are many things that you cannot do. For example, say you were a cashier and you wanted to talk to your boss about your schedule. You couldn’t do that without a union representative with you. How annoying is that?
It also can be hard when part of a company has a union, and the other part of the company does not. It can lead to resentment among those who are in the union against those who are not. A union might feel that non-union workers are just pawns of management while non-union workers might feel like union workers are just lazy and don’t work hard.
There is some truth to that. If you are a union worker you are set to one specific task, and you aren’t allowed to do any other job even if you wanted to. If your job was to swing the hammer, you just swing the hammer, you can’t also use the saw. In the business world of today, that can be hard if you can’t have employees multi-task.
Unions have an upside, but they also have a downside as well. It should be up to the worker to decide if they want to be part of the union or not, or if they want to have a union in the first place.