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What are the major strengths of job control unionism? The major weaknesses? Has job control unionism outlived its usefulness?
Before unions were legal and powerful in the United States, workers were often subject to horrific abuses at the hands of factory owners. Workers labored for long hours and little pay, and were often fired if they were injured. Workers had little bargaining power or leverage. Unions have had great influence in ensuring workers are fairly compensated for their time, including overtime, and that worker's long-term service to companies is rewarded. Unions also reduce wage inequality between white and blue-collar workers. Unionized workers have higher wages, more benefits, and more vacation time than non-unionized workers in similar types of employment (Mishel & Walters 2003).
Unfortunately, many powerful companies such as GM are feeling the burden of agreeing to overly generous benefits for retired workers, including extensive medical benefits and pensions. Unions can extract such a high price from employers that the company is hurt, and past and present employees suffer as the company's fortunes flag. Additionally, there is also the contention that unions, such as teacher's unions, favor workers who are in the union or are loyal to the union rather than competent at their jobs. The teacher's union defends the practice of tenure, which makes teachers difficult to fire after a certain number of years, while a younger and untenured individual might be superior in the position.
Today, in America, a non-unionized company is more likely to provide extensive benefits to workers to attract the best employees. There is a less adversarial relationship between management and labor: the most desirable companies to work for in America, such as Google, Facebook, and Starbucks boast how their nonunionized workforces have everything from vision care to free or discounted food. Traditional, blue-collar or skilled assembly line work has been outsourced to cheaper and nonunionized workforces overseas. While the benefits of unionization had a positive impact upon American history, with the exception of a few industries and professions, such as auto workers and teachers, the traditional trade union seems to have become a thing of the past for a larger and larger percentage of American workers.
Mishel, Lawrence & Matthew Walters. How unions help all workers.
The Economic Policy Institute. August 26, 2003. February 16, 2010. http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/briefingpapersbp143/[continue]
"LABOR RELATIONS" (2010, February 17) Retrieved November 21, 2015, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/labor-relations-14974
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