The Economic Value of Labor Unions

The Economic Value of Labor Unions

Jan 11

Based on the 2013 report of the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 14.5 million wage and salary workers belonging to at least 60 different labor unions all across the US. The list of members include office workers, construction workers, factory workers, plumbers, nurses, doctors, pharmacists, actors, mechanics, engineers, writers, teachers, IT/computer professionals, airline pilots, police officers, government workers, and so forth.

It was in 1866 when the National Labor Union (NLU), the first union in the US, was founded. Many others got to be established, including the American Federation of Labor (AFL) which earned success in its negotiations for the wage increase of its members as well as in improving safety in the workplace.

The establishment of labor unions has greatly helped in improving the lives of workers and their families. By simply becoming a member, a worker can be assured of the following benefits:

  • Wage that is higher by as much as 30% compared to non-union members
  • Discounts in many different types of services and establishments
  • An 8-hour work day and weekends without work
  • Sick leave, paid vacation, overtime pay and holiday pay
  • Lunch breaks and other breaks at work
  • Compensation increases and evaluations
  • Protection through anti- discrimination laws, whistleblower protection law and wrongful termination law
  • Employer health care insurance, workers’ compensation insurance benefits and social security benefits
  • Pensions
  • Employer dental, life, and vision insurance
  • The right to strike

Workers, however, are not the only ones benefiting greatly from unions; the nation’s economy too. This is because labor unions help business firms grow, become more profitable and remain competitive by helping lower employee turnover, ensure higher productivity, create a better-trained and more competitive workforce, improve communication in the workplace, ensure quality of product and service, and make the workplace healthy and safe.

Since the basic and essential concerns of a union revolve around many different legal issues centered on employment, knowledge of employment laws and all aspects of employment is a must to all its officers. But there are many times too when the help of a good labor and employment lawyer becomes necessary due to the complexities of employment laws and proper dealing with government agencies.

The website of labor and employment law firm Cary Kane ( talks about the many legal concerns a union will need to face and address.

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