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The origins of unions’ existence can be traced back to the 18th century when the rapid expansion of industrial society attracted women, children, and immigrants to the workforce in large numbers. The pool of unskilled and semi-skilled labor spontaneously organized themselves in fits and starts throughout its beginning, and would later become an important place for the development of trade unions. Trade unions were also endorsed by the Catholic Church towards the end of the 19th Century. Today, we live in a world where workers have assumed great importance. The employers have started to realize the importance of workers. The employees too have started to form Trade Unions to protect their interests. Bosses around the world have recognized that the best way to resolve issues is by way of dialogue. The employees have realized that to protect themselves from exploitation, unity is very important. This is one of the reasons why trade unions have become so important today.
What Is A Trade Union? A trade union is an organization or a group that workers join so that they can have their interests and goals well represented.
Why Trade Unions? There is no definite answer to this question, mainly because each worker has his/her own reasons for joining the trade unions. Studies have revealed that workers don’t unionize just to get better pay or good working conditions, though these are important factors. For example, a recent study revealed that average wage for union workers was 781$ while that for non-union workers was 612$. They also get more holidays, sick leaves, unpaid leaves, insurance plan benefits and various other benefits that non – union workers do not get. Studies suggest two factors- employer unfairness and the union’s clout as the main reasons why workers join unions.
The bottom line is that the urge to join trade unions often boils to the belief that workers have. They believe that it is only through unity that they can protect themselves from the management. In practice, low morale, fear of job loss and arbitrary management actions help foster unionization. For example, a survey of nurses revealed that trade unions are formed when employees fell disrespected, underpaid, unsafe and undervalued.
To Employees: Members of the union tend to have higher wages than non-unionized workers. Trade unions also sometimes act as representatives of workers in case of legal matters. The rights of the employees are better protected. For example, they cannot be unjustly removed from work.
To Employers: Since the individual rights of workers are better protected and well represented, they tend to be motivated. This results in higher levels of efficiency and improved productivity.
It is the process by which representatives of management and the unions meet and negotiate over wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment in good faith. It is a give and takes a process which aims to arrive at a conclusion beneficial to both the parties. One of the most important aspects of collective bargaining is that it is a never-ending process. It does not finish after an agreement has been reached. It continues for the life of the agreement and beyond. “Good faith bargaining” is at the center of effective labor-management relations. It means that no party should compel another to agree to a proposal. Nor does it require any of the parties to make any specific concessions. The right to bargain collectively is recognized through international human rights conventions. Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes the ability to join trade unions as a human right. Item 2(a) of the International Labor Organization’s declaration also identifies the same.
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