Rise And Fall Of Us Unions

1700 words - 7 pages

Rise and Fall of Labor Unions in The USThe American Labor Movement developed as a result of the citywide organizations that unhappy workers were establishing. These workers were determined to receive the rights and privileges they deserved as citizens of a free country. A union is an organization of employees formed to bargain with the employer. There are many types of unions. For instance, a craft union is one whose members do one type of work, often using specialized skills and training. An industrial union is one that includes many persons working in the same industry or company, regardless of jobs held (Levi Lecture). The main purpose of all these organizations is to secure benefits and rights in the workplace. The history of unions in the United States dates backs before the civil war, but has grown within the last 100 plus years. Many early unions were premature and short-lived, such as the National Labor Union, which was the first federation of U.S. unions. In the past, some unions used violence to promote the cause of unskilled labors such as the Seattle Riots back in the 1900s. In today's society, labor unions are generally more civil and use strikes and other peaceful demonstrations to negotiate with employers. However, today's union numbers are steadily declining and workers seem less interested in joining. While labor unions in the past have proved to be an effective way to bargain with employers and maintain employee satisfaction, today's unions seem to be challenged by a number of different sources. These challenges aid in the decay of unions and the leverage they once had. This is why, in today's world, U.S. unions are in decline.What are these challenges that face U.S. unions? The declining union representation largely results from factors external to the labor movement itself. Some of these aspects include changes in economic structure that favor nonunion over union employment, a declining intensity of union organizing, a reduction in workers' interest in union representation, and increasing management opposition. Also, technology has played an important role in managing jobs. The old ways of doing things are dissolving into a new kind of cooperation.Another factor that is affecting the demise of the union is non-union corporations. We can see a number of new large corporations taking form without unions. For companies like Microsoft, and Wal-Mart, and Apple Computer, they incorporate things like teamwork, flexibility, and innovation to shape a new age of employee relationships. Most of the companies mentioned above depict the growing percentage of companies that are more service-based as opposed to manufacture-based. There are an increasingly small number of union members in the financial and wholesale/retail sectors in which many new jobs have been added, where as the number of industrial jobs continue to sink. Basically, union membership is primarily concentrated in the shrinking part of the economy, and unions are not making...

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