The Importance of Unions

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The Importance of Unions

By | May 2008
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The United States is a free market economy where private enterprises play a major role in economic affairs. Employers have the power to make investments and the power to hire and fire workers, however the relationship between management and employee have become such that many workplace issues are easily resolved without union intervention. Federal regulations now govern minimum wages, work hours, safety and health, discrimination and other issues. Unions have had a significant impact on the workplace in prior years through collective efforts of workers to have their needs addressed so that the widening gap between employer and employee would not lead to the exploitation of workers. Today, the influence of the unions and the labor movement are still there but not as prominent as its glorious years in prior decades. The influence of unions has declined due to several factors. Global economic forces have led to international trade and increased capital flows. Some products can be produced more cheaply say in China than in the United States. This mans that Americans can enjoy the benefits of cheaper toys and employers do not have to deal with labor that may prevent them from hiring cheaper labor in China. This increasing influx of prosperity in the manufacturing country leads to rising national prosperity which may or may not trickle down to these workers. Unions can only maintain their monopolistic power over society for their members if they participate in activities that are protected from competition. Union membership will always be affected by economic recessions that leave millions of people jobless. This is what is happening today. Traditional unionized industries such as airlines, construction and manufacturing have felt financial and employee losses due to the down turn of the economy. The employment security of employees at a company cannot be controlled through a union but is impacted by economic forces. In this light, many employees see the union as...

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