Labor Unions Today Issues and Problems

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Introduction Though the labor movement has had changes in enrollment over the years there has been a continued trend for the movement over the past 50 plus years. Unionized workers in the United States since the mid to late 1950’s has been rapidly declining from 35% of the labor force to 12% today. The contributing factors, globalization, technology advances, outsourcing, legislation, the economy, the change in workforce demographics and even disputes with-in the labor organization over the years have contributed to this downward trend. The labor movement has been stalled by many factors and some hampered their movement more than others. Collective bargaining an important part of the labor union movement is negotiation between employers and employees about terms and conditions of employment. Unions usually represented the employees, and the bargaining process would be involved with negotiations such as; wages, fringe benefits, working hours, job security and other matters that relate to working conditions. Unions today in the United States have lost the upper hand with bargaining power of wages and benefits for the U.S. worker. Prior to this decline, competition was low, laws favored unionization, and the workforce was predominately made up of the white male, blue collar worker. These factors have all changed and with it so did the ability for unions to collectively bargain effectively any longer. Types of Unions: Craft unions – for members of a certain skill such as; carpenter or mason as an example. Industrial unions- made up of all workers in an industry such as; transportation or manufacturing industries. Despite conflicts in the 30’s and 40’s in 1955 the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged as of 2006 the AFL-CIO included 52 national and international unions and had a membership in the U.S. of 9 million
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