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Labor unions have undergone tremendous changes from being strictly voluntary organizations to coercive agents within the economy. Federal law permits the right to become a member of a union as a means of enhancing collective bargaining. The present legal position of unions is the outcomes of century’s debates and dialogue between groups of citizen with vast interest in policies set in regard to labor. Labor union laws incorporate theories regarding what exactly constitutes an acceptable union action.
Although labor unions have been known to advocate for democracy, economic equality and freedom of association critics perceive them as having particular interests and intimidation over the union members as well as external parties. This is because governments, private businesses and other organizations seek the people’s acceptance so that they can deem legitimate: but labor unions cannot be classified into either of the above categories therefore many people don’t know what the role of organized labor.
The Wagner Act was passed in 1935 thereby allowing laborers to unionize. Congress used utilitarian terms to support organized labor. Utilitarian’s deem that we ought to view the outcomes of our deeds, motivated either to get the most out of the total happiness of society or otherwise to satisfy our preferences to the maximum. The Wagner Act states: “knowledge has shown that safeguard by decree of the freedom of workers to organize and negotiate jointly protects trade from injury, harm, or disruption, and enhances the flow of business by eliminating specific known sources of business conflict and disorder . . . .” (Bill Fletcher, 2008) The Act makes a practical forecast: that union will encourage trade while preventing conflict. Many people had the notion that unions would promote the financial system by raising salaries (consequently the purchasing ability) and by giving an option to hostile and disordered industrial conflict.
The Wagner Act also includes a normative principle, that is, trade encourages collective contentment, wellbeing, or fulfillment, while “conflict and instability” are sources of discontent. The Act apparently shifts away from utilitarian way of thinking when it supports laborers’ “right of association.” A single individual’s liberty and freedom could lessen society’s overall prosperity or contentment. However Congress instantly justifies the right to associate with a utilitarian reasoning, stating that unions will “get rid of the causes of specific considerable obstructions to the open operations of trade.”
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Many economists hold the opinion that Congress was mistaken with regard to the overall long-term consequences of unionized workers. These critics support the fact that unions normally obstruct effectiveness, since they defend incompetent laborers, distort incentives, increase costs, and discourage entrepreneurial culture within the society. Many economist held the opinion that a strike was constantly destructive, even in cases where it was orchestrated by a disorganized gathering of laborers outside a union, for the reason that it could damage “the benefit and self-esteem of the labors collectively.”(Machesney &Charles, 2008).
Undoubtedly, strikes could definitely hurt parties other than laborers, for example investors and customers. In contrast, libertarianshad absolutely no concern regarding outcomes of personal activities and how they impact the collective welfare. In cases where laborers willingly leave their work, libertarians have absolutely no rational remedy even in cases where the overall financial impact is destructive. Nevertheless, libertarians don’t support unions in situations where unions achieve power over the entire workforce in a business.
Many critics of labor unions hold the opinion that many unions profit significantly from the capacity to dominate personal rights by: preventing any person from taking a job under a contract in which the labor union was not actively consulted on; preventing workers from sending offers—even profitable offers—to laborers except when the union is consulted and gives permission; charging union members fees (or all members under union contracts); spending these fee charges to support day to day expenses and cost in periods of strikes.
Critics also extend their attack to union leaders. They accuse the leaders of using their authority even in situations where union members oppose them. Thus, unions “are the single organization where government authorities have significantly been unsuccessful in its fundamental duty that of stopping oppression of persons— in this case oppression means the intimidation of laborers as well as the intimidation of employees by other employees.”
Libertarians are particularly not in favor of “closed shop” contracts (they necessitate businesses to employ only members of the union) as well as “union shop” contracts (they require all workers to become members of a particular union before they are employed). Libertarians perceive such terms as state authorized abuse of personal contract freedoms. (Foyer & Kenneth, 2006) However authentic union shops as well as closed shops are at present prohibited in the US.
Another line of disapproval and critism against unions is that only establishment that represents all citizens is the elected government and is for that reason fit to control the economy: Governments may decide to put up with or even promote unions since they have positive outcomes, but disagreements will arise between goals of the union and community purposes as formulated by nominated or elected government officials. These critics argue that in such situations, an autonomous government is more likely to be perceived as more genuine than unions.
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Some economists who oppose creation and establishment of labor unions believe that pay increases attained by labor unions is not at the expense of capitalists ventures, but instead at the expense of members who are not unionized. Businesses which are unionized have to increase prices, which in turn harms other employees since they are alsobuyers of those products. The price increase also causes problems to other businesses, which may be forced to lay off their staff so as to make budget cuts. The employment levels in the sector which is unionized fall due to increased labor expenses, forcing more employees into additional industries, where salaries drop. Critics further argue that if allemployees were unionized, Its likely that powerful unions can pursue policies that only profit the union at the detriment of weak ones.’’ Therefore, with regard to (John W. Budd, 2008) he writes that unions harm the most disadvantaged in our midst. Friedman writes: “unions have . . . caused the wages of the working class to become more imbalanced by causing reduction in employment opportunities accessible to the majority of disadvantaged employees.” It is apparent that it could be factual in some situations, whether this is correct is a intricate experiential issue. For example, there has been severe conflict— not forgetting periods of collaboration— between well-known unions and African American non-unionized employees. Thus, a debate in favor of organized workforce on the basis of distributive fairness is dependent on many factors.
In spite of their basic differences with economist, several socialists agree with this pessimistic scrutiny of unions. They also perceive the state to be the only appropriate guarantor of equity and justice. Critics further affirm that unions were only helpful to the point which they led to the revolution. When capitalism became widespread, critics argued, labor associations that failed to unite and grasp political authority would by no means be able to “liberate the people, nor even to noticeably ease the burden of their suffering.” But nearly all economic outcomes of labor unions is controversial.
No agreement has been reached regarding whether their outcome on collective effectiveness is negative or positive, who incurs the expenses of unionization and why people unionize. Joint decisions made unions officials may hurt some people financially. For example in one significant case, African American employees, disgruntled by the fruitless efforts of their union to end prejudice at a department store, tried to protest without seeking union’s consent.
The Supreme Court declared that such an action could only be undertaken by a union, for the reason that, the code of majority rule, allows union “to negotiate with its managers to ensure membership to union is a stipulation of employment, thus coercing its decision on the minority.” Justice Marshall Thurgood remarked that: “Congress wanted to protect to every member off unions the advantage of their combined force and negotiating power, in total knowledge that the higher power of some persons or groups may be vetted and subjected to the control of the majority.” (Dan & Young, 2009),although majority-rule can weaken personal rights and minority freedoms
On the other hand proponents of state sovereignty reason that elected representatives should lay down laws for the nation, steered by ethical considerations and open to media and public scrutiny. Arguments against labor unions support that designated representatives as well as qualified civil service are the only institutions entrusted the responsibility of always taking into consideration the wellbeing of the State.” They propose that some unions and businesses may conspire in preserving employment opportunities in spite of economic and social environment or cause harm to others.
Proponents of labor unions complain that excessive discretion is given to civil servants, and this abuses the rule that only legislative arm of government ought to make laws. They propose that the labor unions—not state institutions —should establish labor policies and laws. Across most businesses, union members have higher salaries when compared to non-unionized colleagues. For example, the Labor Statistics Bureau announced that average weekly salary for a union member in the US in 2010 was 890 dollars, while regular workers are paid 680 dollars for non unionized workers. The disparity is greatest amid employees in the service sector. At 660 dollars a week, workers who are unionized make more than twice the salary. By receiving a mean wage of $120-$230 more than members who are non-unionized, local government and state workers also win out.
Arguments in favor of labor union claim that members have more advantages, with superior conditions, than their non-unionized colleagues. For example, unionized personnel are more probable to obtain health insurance, and incur lesser premium cost. Union members on average have additional paid holiday leave and sick leave. They also benefit from retirement benefits that have been negotiated by their unions, permanent insurance care, and assistance received from their bosses.
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My opinion on labor union movement is that it addresses many employees concerns in the work place. Unions persist to negotiate for better and safer conditions for workers. But, further than that, labor unions have succeeded in bargaining for fringe remuneration which make employment more pleasant – advantages such as training, employee discounts, employee breaks and share ownership schemes.
I supportthe opinion that labor unions normally provide more job security to members than non-unionized employees. Nearly all union contracts give members the right not to be laid off or fired unless there is a fair grounds The fact that unions allow ad organize strikes is also beneficial. A strike can be a precious instrument for people; however, striking without permission from the union also called (wildcat striking) is hazardous since it is not sheltered within the general Labor Relations Act. (Fletcher Jr. & Fernando, 2008) Workers involved in wild protests can be laid off by the employers if they wish to do so. Strikers participating in a union-authorized strike also often get “strike pay” to help offset the hardship of not earning a paycheck during the strike. Non-union strikers receive no such pay, and often are ineligible to receive state unemployment benefits. This is true even of non-union workers that honor the labor union’s picket line and refuse to report to work.
In conclusion I believe that the moral considerations and arguments stated in this paper mostly lead toward same verdict. Unless fundamental and contentious ethical principles or debatable interpretations of the experiential statistics, it seems that labor unions are as legitimate as other organizations and establishments are. Employees have freedom to become union members and to create new unions by applying majority vote principal. Indeed, labor associations are beneficial to the entire country because of their economic, social, civic and political influence. Governments ought not to force workers to unionize, because unions are founded on the principal of open democracy. It is also suitable for the government to guarantee that sixty percent of employees demand for a union, they should be granted one. In addition, all members in a labor union should be granted enforceable freedoms and privileges within unions.
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