The Protection of Labor Unions Essay

The Protection of Labor Unions Essay

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“Labor unions once represented a significant share of the U.S. labor force, peaking at almost 35 percent of workers in 1954. Today, less than 12 percent of the labor force is unionized (Vachon 239).” There are two different types of unions; the private sector and the public sector. The public sector unions consist of government jobs: teachers, postal workers, police officers, etc. The private sector is comprised of businesses owned by the individuals. The unions in the private sector were created as a result of the terrible conditions of the industrial revolution. They had begun to organize for better working conditions, higher salaries, employee benefit, and stable work hours. However, unions were created in a time where there were no laws to protect the people from corrupt employers, but today, thanks to the unions, laws have been put into place to help workers from being exploited. “Currently, the unionization rate nationwide is about 35.9 percent in the public sector compared to just 6.6 percent in the private sector (Vachon 230).”The need of unions is no longer as necessary today as it was in previous decades, and the contributing factors to the decline of unions are globalization and labor market transformation.
The causes for the decline in unionization have to do with multiple factors within globalization—global capital, foreign direct investment, exports, and immigration. Global capital refers to large transnational corporation (TNCs) which are also associated with Fortune 1000 firms. As stated by Vachon and Wallace, “This elite group of firms accounted for less than 0.02 percent of all U.S. corporations but 35.6 percent of corporate sales, 37.5 percent of corporate assets, and 46.8 percent of corporate profits (Vachon ...

... middle of paper ... foreign competition.
“Although unionization would be higher if business didn’t oppose so strongly, the point is that management will continue to oppose unions as long as it is economically sensible, and it usually is in a highly competitive world in which most of one's competitors are nonunion (Hirsch 496).” In the U.S., another factor for the decline of unions in the private sector is that workers today are more individualistic than in previous decades and would rather be a part of a cooperative relationship with their employers rather than the confrontational relationships unions provide.
Although unions had been beneficial in providing the foundation for today’s labor laws, its organized structure is not compatible with today’s economy. Even though workers do not oppose unions, many would rather not join if they have another way of achieving their goals.

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