: What is unionising ?


: What is unionising ?

In: Economics

Imagine if you walk up to your boss and say “I want to be paid more, or I’ll stop working”. The end result here is that your boss probably fires you.

Now imagine you get all your coworkers, every single one, to go up as one group and say “We want to be paid more, or we’ll stop working”. Your boss can’t just fire his entire staff, so he’ll have to negotiate.

That’s the purpose of a union, to gather enough employees together that simply firing them and hiring new ones aren’t worth it, thus giving power to employees.

Unionizing is the act of establishing a union at a workplace. A group of workers may be unhappy with their pay, working conditions, etc. so they may reach out to a union to help them set up a local chapter in their office, store, plant. There is a process to inform workers of the attempt to set up a union, and get them to vote whether to unionize. Management often tries to dissuade workers from doing so, and even once they do decide to (companies can’t forbid it), then they still have to either negotiate a union contract or go to an arbitration to settle one.

A union gives the workers more power by negotiating on behalf of all workers/members with management, vs. each individual worker having very limited leverage against management. They typically work to set things like pay rates, benefits, working hours/conditions, path for seniority/promotion.