Chapter 3 - UNION STRUCTURES Learning Objectives*Union...

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UNION STRUCTURES Learning Objectives *Union organizing and certification activities *Reasons why people join unions *Structure of the AFL-CIO *Differences between international and national unions *Role and major activities of the AFL-CIO * *Composition and governance of the AFL-CIO's executive council *Incentives that exist for unions to affiliate with the AFL-CIO *Role and ma)or activities of national and local unions *Power bases in organized labor and their effect on contract negotiations INTRODUCTION The dichotomy that exists between labor and management has existed for many years. As we discussed in the evolution of unions in the United States, these two groups have engaged in many activities that can be described as confrontational. Although the two groups have a long standing history, a more fundamental question must be addressed: Why do workers join unions in the first place? Much research and rhetoric exist regarding workers' reasons for joining unions, and much of the answer ties in two simple words-poor management. I For centuries workers have been subjected to use and abuse, exploitation, and unilateral decision making by management, who justified its actions on the grounds that the actions best served the interests of the organization. Unfortunately for some workers, the organization often translated into certain individuals in management. 'As one reviewer correctly pointed out, we must add here that unions exist in reference also to supply and demand factors: Employers want the most for their monies; employees want the most for their services. To correct the exploitation, many workers turned to a third party unions-to apply the collective strength of numbers to redress the exploitation and to seek some balance of power. Workers realized that the employer could mishandle a few workers, but if all of the workers acted collectively in dealing with management, the exploitation would stop. Thus, employers who offers no health and welfare insurance or no pensions or who had poor working conditions, to name a few, could be better addressed by the union than by individual workers. Call it strength in numbers or economies of scale. Either way, worker combined their resources, talents, and efforts to correct the problems they face brought on by poor management practices. Failure to treat workers as valuable assets in any organization, private or public, can only lead to concerted action by the workers. Thus, although such factors as family history, personal demographics, and a host of other factors may influence whether an individual joins a
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union, when management practices are fair, equitable, and consistent and when workers are treated fairly, the need for such collective action against management is minimized. If workers evidence a willingness to join a union, how do they go about becoming
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Chapter 3 - UNION STRUCTURES Learning Objectives*Union...

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