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Organized Labor Ch 12, Section 2
Labor Union Labor union – association of workers organized to improve wages and working conditions for its members. Why do we have unions? • based on the belief that as a group, workers will have more influence on management. • Working conditions in the 1800’s were very poor - bad lighting, little ventilation, dangerous machinery was being used, long workweek, low wages, no sick leave, no paid vacations and holidays, no health care benefits.
Labor Union Stats • 2010 union membership, 14.7 million Americans, 11.9% of all workers. Down from 20% in 1980. • 36% of public sector workers are union members. Ex. Postal workers, policeman, teachers, etc. • 7% of all private sector workers are union members.
The AFL-CIO • Largest federation of trade unions in the U.S., made up of 56 national and international unions, representing 11 million workers. • Represented almost all unions from 1955-2005, when some unions started to break off and form new unions.
How are they formed? • Local union – made up of workers from a particular factory, company, or geographic area. Ex. Well’s Blue Bunny. • Closed shop – companies can only hire union members. Outlawed in 1947 by the Taft-Hartley Act. • Union shop – new employee must join the union after a specific period of time, usually 90 days. • Agency shop – employees are not required to join the union, but they must pay union dues.
How are they formed? • National unions – help the local unions with negotiations. Example, NEA helps the SCEA or the IEA.
Right to work laws • A law that forbids unions from forcing workers to join unions and/or pay union dues.