The creation of unions was a response to predatory labor practices that endangered and silenced America’s working class, especially those in industrial jobs. However, there’s an argument to be made that unions aren’t always the best option for vulnerable workforces. Here are the pros and cons of forming a union for factory employees.
Promotes Better Wages and Benefits
Unions and businesses create collective bargaining agreements that hopefully cater to the needs of employees and owners. These deals are well thought out and focus on better wages and benefits for staff who work in potentially dangerous environments. Additionally, unions directly increase the salaries of non-union workers as companies attempt to compete for talent.
Better Protection of Employee Wellbeing
Union workers have the benefit of not being at-will employees. Basically, you can’t get fired as a union worker as quickly compared to non-union individuals, allowing better job security for entire workforces. Unions also operate as a middleman between employees and owners, often fighting for better protection and safety within the work environment. These safety improvements include better regulations, implementation of superior equipment and machinery, and more accessible time off in case of injury or illness.
Amplify the Voice of Workers
The most cherished aspect of a union is amplifying workers and their needs. Often, at a larger company, the voice of the employees is lost or never makes it to the people in charge. When a union backs up its members, owners are more likely to hear the concerns of their staff and must meet specific demands. Unions also offer more transparency for employees.
Unions help empower their members and fight for their needs, but mainly in a broad manner. Some workers feel that unions strip away employee individuality, making their needs less critical when compared to the larger workforce.
Harder To Let Go of Lagging Employees
Arbitration happens when someone in a union gets fired. This procedure takes time and sometimes results in nothing. While this is great for most employees, it makes firing less-quality individuals much more challenging.
Unwanted Dues and Fees
Unions offer many great benefits—especially financial ones—but they don’t come free for their members. Union workers must pay dues and fees to their organizations to reap the benefits, and some employees would instead pocket that extra cash to support their families and livelihood.
When you’re weighing the pros and cons of forming a union for factory employees, consider all the aspects that come with being a member. If your needs are already being met, a union isn’t the best idea. However, if you’re seeking better representation in the workplace, consider forming or joining one with your peers.