labor unions

Labor Unions



achieve common organization
bargain goal (2) collective
wage benefits negotiate
bureau condition according to
non average consumer
earn erode (2) comparable
fair (3) dynamic inequality
anti- pass (2) argue (2)
stifle advocate growth (2)
restrict equality competition
provide statistics pass down
gender member interconnected
typical inherent workforce
identify receptive collective bargaining
data issue (2) concentrated
rate increase


Labor Unions

A labor union is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals. Unions increase the collective bargaining power of their members to negotiate better wages, benefits (such as vacations, health care, and retirement) and working conditions.

And historically, they have done just that. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average non-union worker earns 80% of what the typical unionized worker earns on a weekly basis.

Labor unions have also helped to greatly increase benefits and reduce pay inequality along racial and gender lines.

Opposition to Unions

While unions can provide some benefits to workers, anti-union advocates argue that unions stifle economic growth, restrict market competitiveness, and unfairly pass higher costs down to the consumer or taxpayer.

In an increasingly dynamic, competitive and interconnected global economy, union membership is eroding in the United States. Today, just 10.7% of the U.S. workforce is unionized, down from 35.6% in 1946.

Unions and Politics

Labor unions are an inherently political issue, and some states tend to be more receptive to collective bargaining than others. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the BLS to identify the states where union membership is the strongest and weakest.

In some states — many of which are concentrated in the West and the Northeast — union membership rates are high, near levels not seen nationwide since the 1970s.

However, in other states — many of which are in the South — union membership rates are less than half the comparable national rate.

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1. What is a labor union? What is the goal or purpose of a labor union?

2. Unionized and non-unionized workers earn the same amount for the same quality and quantity of work. True or false?

3. Do unions combat discrimination in the workplace?

4. Everyone favors labor unions. Everyone is pro-union. Is this right or wrong? Why are some or many people against it?

5. Are unions increasing in size and strength?

6. Do labor and labor unions feature prominently in politics, or is it strictly a business matter?

7. Unions in all parts of the US are the same. They are all standardized. Is this correct or incorrect?


A. Do labor unions have a long history in your country? Has there been a tumultuous relationship (if not conflict) between labor and management?

B. Are labor unions (still) very powerful? When was the peak of union strength?

C. What are the goals of unions? Who supports them?

D. Do some or many people oppose labor unions? Who are they? Why do they oppose them? What is their solution or ideal situation?

E. What will happen in the future? Is this the ideal situation?


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