Pros and Cons of Labor Unions

Is a Labor Union Right For You?

Politics aside, nobody can deny that there are both pros and cons of joining a labor union. However, the country as a whole seems very split on whether or not they are good for the country.

Some argue that they keep workers from being exploited by companies, and others worry that they make some smaller companies susceptible to being exploited.

There is some truth on both sides of the argument, but that still doesn’t mean that labor unions are right for everyone. Go through these pros and cons to determine whether or not you should join a labor union.

Pro: A Union Can Keep You In a Job

Although most companies aren’t just going to fire people willy-nilly, it is known to happen. However, it is not uncommon for people to lose their jobs after not getting a chance to defend themselves.

Labor unions can keep you from losing your job by ensuring that you don’t lose it without first going through an arbitration and grievance process. Basically, you won’t lose your job without first getting the chance to defend yourself and getting a warning first.

Con: Some Unions Are Not Free

If you are in a closed union, you will have to pay dues in order to have a place in the union and to even have a job with the union in general. Basically, if you want to have a job, you have to pay regular dues in order to get that job in the first place.

With that being said, the dues only total about 2-3% of your paycheck. However, if these dues make this job too pricey for you, a closed union may not be right for you.

Pro: Unions Typically Pay Better and Have Better Benefits

Let’s say you want to work as a plumber. On average, a job in a plumbing union will pay better than a plumbing job at a non-union company. Also, your benefits such as your healthcare will be better if you are at a union.

For a lot of people, this alone is enticing enough to join a union. However, there are still plenty of cons to keep in mind.

Con: Promotion and Termination Are Much Harder

On one hand, it’s nice knowing that you aren’t going to get fired too easily. On the other hand, it can be tough working with a problematic coworker who isn’t being fired do to a loophole in the union.

Also, it is very hard to climb any sort of corporate ladder in a union. Many unions have a complete lack of internal promotion in general. Basically, when you get a job in a union, that is the only step of the corporate ladder that you will take.

Pro: Unions Keep Political Figures on Their Toes

Many political candidates try to keep on the good side of labor unions as they embody working class Americans. Also, since unions represent large groups of people rather than just a few individuals, candidates want them on their side for the votes.

Working in a union promotes labor unions which helps politicians keep their fingers on the pulse of middle-class Americans.

Con: Working in a Union Can Result in Less Work

On average, hiring a union to complete a project is a lot more expensive than hiring a non-union company. Also, it comes with a lot more rules and regulations that can delay a project. For example, a union doing a construction project may call for less hours of construction work during the day, which will extend the duration of the project.

One of the problems with this is that a lot of companies don’t hire labor unions. However, this also leads to unions protesting job sites for not hiring a union to do a job.  These protests mixed with companies not wanting to hire labor unions results in unions getting less and less jobs. If your union isn’t getting work, then you aren’t getting paid.

Should I Join a Union?

As with everything, you should do your own research before making any final decisions. Look into the union you may join to see if it is right for you. Use that information to make your final decision.

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