Pros and Cons of Labor Unions

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Like many workers, you’re probably deciding if you’ll join a labor union or not. Signing up for one can be great since it will give you several benefits, but take note that it can also be bring several drawbacks. To help you make the right choice, here’s a list of the advantages and disadvantages of labor unions.

List of Pros of Labor Unions

1. They Can Negotiate Better Compensation For You
In most industries, employees who are members of labor unions often have higher wages than those who aren’t. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that, as of 2010, the average weekly wages of labor union members were $200 higher than those of their counterparts. $200 is already a huge deal, particularly if you have kids to clothe and feed, loans to pay, and a mortgage to deal with.

Aside from helping with wages, labor unions can also negotiate for better benefits packages for members. These can include medical and dental coverage as well as retirement benefits.

2. They Can Lead To Job Security
Labor union members are protected from unjust firing and can’t be fired at will by their employers. This reduces the chances of their contracts being terminated because of discrimination or office politics. If workers perform poorly or make grave mistakes, managers must first meet with the labor union leaders to discuss why they should be let go.

3. They Provide a Voice To Workers
Even if you have a laundry list of complaints about your job, you’ll still find it hard to get noticed if you’re the only one who’s speaking up. However, this isn’t the case when you join a labor union. Since you have strength in numbers, your employer will have no choice but to listen in what you have to say.

List of Cons of Labor Unions

1. They Can Be Expensive
One of the biggest complaints about labor unions is that they require members to pay hefty initiation fees and annual dues, with some charging several hundred dollars per year. This can be a problem for many workers; by being forced to pay these fees, they’ll have a smaller take-home pay and will have less money to spend on groceries, utility bills, and other necessities.

2. They Can Disrupt Work And Business
Labor unions often stage strikes when they want the management to listen to them. However, these strikes can be harmful for both employers and employees. The latter can have lower take-home pays since the management usually deducts their pay when they participate in strikes. Employers’ businesses can also suffer since they’ll have to go for several hours or even days without their skilled and experienced workers.

3. They Can Suppress Individuality
When you join a labor union, you’ll be bound to its rules and regulations. This means that, even when you disagree with the union’s decisions and opinions, you’ll have no choice but to follow them.

Study these pros and cons now to know if joining a labor union is the right thing for you.