A labour union, sometimes called a trade union, is an association of workers who want common things. In the 19th century, labour unions helped protect workers’ rights. These days, workers use labour unions to bargain collectively for the majority of the workers.
To be part of a union, a worker has to apply for membership and pay dues. Here are some of the common goals and objectives of labour unions.
1. Improved Working Conditions
One of the main objectives of labour unions is to make sure all members have better working conditions. They might ask for shorter work weeks or working days, safe working environments, and more. This may also included health care and allowance for vacation time for members. Unions will also demand job security and ask employers agree to pay workers who are laid off, or guarantee an annual wage at time of employment. To understand more, employers are advised to consult with their employment lawyers for how to best approach a labour union.
2. Increased Pay
Another main goal of labour unions is to secure the maximum pay for workers. Labour activists feel that workers have a share in the success of a company and should be rewarded for any increases in productivity. Employees should get fair pay for their work, and should be paid according to the cost of living. This includes being paid for expenses they incur for doing their job like the cost of travel and food and accommodation while on the road.
3. Dispute Resolution
Disputes can occur even when the management and union settle on terms for employment. Members might have disagreements with their managers over different issues, or the management might say that members are not performing as agreed. In situations like these, grievances are used to resolve the dispute. This may involve conflict resolution, mediation, and arbitration.
4. Services to Members
Labour unions also offer services like training and education to keep union members up-to-date on their employment rights and to help improve their basic skills. Unions may provide legal assistance to those members who feel they were unfairly or unjustifiably dismissed. Finally, unions might provide financial support during difficult times, often in the form of discounts on mortgages, low insurance premiums, and small loans.
Labour unions actively work to influence government policy and decision-making. One such example would be to lobby for an increase to minimum wage. This may involve asking members to sign petitions asking government reps to voice their support over the proposed changes.
6. Benefits of Union Membership
Workers in unions are important to the local economy. They spend their paycheques locally, which in turn supports local businesses, which creates local jobs, and boosts the tax base. This helps to improve everyone’s quality of life.
The benefits that unionized workers enjoy, like extended health care coverage, legal insurance, and dental insurance helps to attract and support family lawyers, chiropractors, dentists, health specialists, opticians, and other specialists who offer services to everyone in the community.
Labour unions fight for pension plans that provide income security to those who retire. This helps seniors from having to rely on social programs and family members to survive.
On average, union members across Canada earned more per hour than non-union workers. Women in unions earned more too, and got paid more fairly compared to non-union workers. Younger workers, those under age 27, earned an extra 27 percent from jobs that were covered by a collective agreement.