how does unionisation work and what does it do that threatens corporations?

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Random excerpt: in “The Office”, the warehouse crew wanted to unionise and Jan from corporate shuts it down by threatening to fire them. What can the unionisation of workers do and if it’s that important, how can corporations make it optional?

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Let’s say I’m the boss of the factory, and I tell everyone that they now have to work 10 hour days or get fired. If just one person says no, and decides to stop working in protest, I can fire that person and hire a new one. But if everyone gets together and says “No, we’re all going to stop working until you bring us back to 8 hour days and make it optional to work 10 hours.” then the boss is in trouble. He can’t just replace everyone, he won’t have anyone to train the new people, and his business will suffer. It could take weeks to hire enough people to replace the entire factory, and during those weeks he wouldn’t be making any money at all. So, he is forced to undo his change and go back to 8 hour work days.

That’s the basics of a union. All (or a majority) of the workers get together and are able to negotiate for better working conditions, because if they threaten to all stop working, to go on strike, then the business will suffer and have a hard time working without them.

Many businesses dislike unions, as they feel that some can go too far and make it harder for the business to make money because the workers are demanding more than is fair. Other businesses dislike unions because they don’t like feeling like they’re in absolute control of what happens at the workplace, and the workers have more power.

Some people feel that unions can go too far, and dislike that part of being in a union is giving a portion of your paycheck to the union, generally going into a fund so that if people have to go on strike, there’s money for them to survive off of while they strike and stop working. Others feel that unions are a crucial part of business, and dislike that they’ve gotten a bad reputation, feeling that large companies have been trying to make unions look bad so that people aren’t as interested in them anymore.

Unions purpose, among other things, is to negotiate with employers for what’s called a collective bargaining agreement. Employees pay dues for inclusion in the union, and as a result the union guarantees certain working conditions. Usually has to do with base pay and periodic cost of living increases, insurance coverage, paid time off, that kind of thing. Unions are also useful when people get fired for no reason. That might otherwise be legal, but the union may be able to reverse that decision.

Corporations feel threatened by unions because they lose control over things like pay scale. They also lose the generally looming “don’t piss the boss off if you want to keep your job” attitude.

As for firing people who unionize, that’s blatantly illegal. Walmart chose to close a store in the US when its employees unionized, for example. They couldn’t fire them all and start over and they weren’t willing to work with a union, so they had no choice but to shut that location down.

When you negotiate for your salary, you have two options: accept the offered salary, or quit. If you quit, the company loses one worker, which (unless you have a very, very specialized skill) will not be difficult to replace.

If you’re in a union, you all negotiate for your salary *together*, so you have *three* options: accept the offered salary, quit, or go on strike.

If a large enough portion of the workers are unionised and go on strike, this can shut down the company. This means unionised workers have more power, and get paid more.

Company owners do not want that, because they want to pay workers as little as possible.

If EVERYONE had a union, everything would be fine. Well, cost of goods might go up, but thats it.

The real threat is when you have a union leveraging higher wages, but competitors don’t. Might be new startups, or foreign companies operating with fewer regulations.

Either way, if your labor costs more than the competition, it can be very difficult to keep up.

Ideally the union is a partner who respects what a company can reasonable afford. Of course sometimes the union members prioritize the short term.

1st off on your Example, even discounting ” its TV” shutting down an Union like that would be illegal. you cant fire anyone for choosing to be part or create a Union and its the sort of thing where being in a Union would shut down immediately.

Workers having the capacity to assemble into a union is a way of ensuring worker rights are protected in a more cohesive manner than if the workers would pursue this defense individually.(this normally has the workers pay a fee for a Union fund but generally its worth it in exchange for legal representation)

basically Being part of a Union gives the workers a Legal Front from which they can protect and fight for their rights.

Most corporations are **TERRIFIED** of allowing this because this gives the workforce the ability to push back and strongarm them into improving their conditions which would means stuff like better wages, better safety conditions and what not.

Being in a union also allows workers to threaten with Real consequences like Strikes if their requests aren’t met in a regular basis, and corporations cannot do anything to stop this(legally), other than assembling with the Union representatives to negotiate(btw this is why its extremely important for the workers ot have the right ppl representing them and be monitored closely to avoid foul play.).

TLDR: Unions Allow workers to defend their rights more easily, Corporations would rather not have them do that if they can avoid it.