I would think that the more a union
diversifies its membership, the tougher it is to represent each facet
effectively. For example: In Oklahoma City, the teachers are represented
by the Laborers Union, not the American Federation of teachers (Sloan & Witney, 2010, p. 8). The Laborers Union
primarily represents construction workers. How can such a
large organization represent so many different workers in radically different
fields with different skillsets? I guess I can only view it as a
corporation, with “field offices” or as the unions call “locals” that represent
the local population and then feeds information back to the top.
I could see the benefits of a
smaller union that primarily caters to one type of worker. Take the UAW
for example. The UAW does have other facets (Aerospace and Agriculture),
but primarily it represents the auto worker. It isn’t as large as the
Service Employees International Union which has 2.2 million members in the
U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico (http://www.seiu.org/a/ourunion/fast-facts.php).
The UAW’s membership has now been reduced to just less than 400,000; however it
does have 600,000 retired members (http://www.uaw.org/node/39).
The smaller union may be able to understand the worker, the business, and the
strategy of the organization better than a much larger union with many
different industries. Being small doesn’t always mean powerless,
considering the UAW could be contributed to one of the largest bankruptcy cases
in American history, General Motors. The UAW definitely played a role in
the downfall; however, they took care of their members. When GM showed
the door to many white collar workers, or salaried workers, the UAW made sure
the members had health care, and other benefits that the salaried workers
Sloane, A. A., &
Witney, F. (2010). Labor Relations (13th ed.). Upper
Saddle River: Prentice Hall
15 Million Students Helped!
Sign up to view the full answer