History of Trade Unionism: Case Study

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Case Study #2

Definition ~ The origins of unions’ existence can be traced from the 18th century, where the rapid expansion of industrial society drew women, children, rural workers, and immigrants to the work force in numbers and in new roles. Since the publication of the History of Trade Unionism (1894) by Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the predominant historical view is that a trade union “is a continuous association of wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment. A modern definition by the Australian Bureau of Statistics states that a trade union is “an organization consisting predominantly of employees, the principal activities of which include the negotiation of rates of pay and conditions of employment for its members.” Trade Union also known as Labor Union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals, better working conditions. Through its leadership, trade unions bargain with the employer on behalf of union members (rank & file members) and negotiates labor contracts (collective bargaining) with employers, for example, negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing & promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety & policies. Agreements negotiated by the union leaders are binding on the rank & file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers Evolution ~ Originating in Europe, trade unions became popular in many countries during the Industrial Revolution, when the lack of skill necessary to perform most jobs shifted employment bargaining power almost completely to the employers’ side, causing many workers to be mistreated and underpaid. Trade union organization composition consists of individual workers, professionals, past worker, or the unemployed. The common purpose of these organizations is “maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment History ~ Trade unions have been seen as successors...
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