A union is an association of employees that is created in an organized manner and is meant to guard the rights of the employees and their interests. A union is formed by members of a certain job category who come together and elect their leaders. Just like other leadership, union leadership is usually over a particular allocated period over which elections are held again, and new leaders get to be elected (Guest, & Dewe, 1988). These leaders are the ones who are going to advocate for the members whenever they will be in need of their assistance. There are many advantages that associated with one being in a union such as chances of earning more, an employee becomes more competent, and their dignity is boosted, safety at the workplace, job security.
Also, there are lots of benefits such as health cover, pensions, and vacations. However, there are also some few cons that unions have. The most recognized drawback is the initiation fee, however, weighing the advantages and disadvantages, the advantages much far outweigh the disadvantages.
Avoiding unfair treatment
There are many pros which would entice one to join a union. The first reason that would entice one participating in a union is the unfair treatment that is exhibited by employers worldwide. One of the unjust treatments that employees get from their employers is inconsistent disciplinary action laid against them (Guest, & Dewe, 1988). In most cases, employees feel that they have been subjected to unfair treatment that they did not deserve to incur punishment.
The advantage of being a member of a union is that such employees’ rights are fought for by the union. In this way, being in a union is advantageous since one is assured that there is someone who will defend them in a case whereby the employer is unfairly punishing them. Many employees who are members of a union acquire a voice to argue openly in cases whereby something that they do not like is being administered to them by a company, organization, business person or an employer.
Secondly, there are some benefits that are accorded to members who have joined a union as compared to those who are not members of any union. Examples of these benefits comprise of pensions, medical insurance covers, paid vacations, holidays, sickness leaves, penalty pays, premium overtime wages and shift differentials (Hartley, 1992). All these can be acquired when one an employee is bound by a union contract.
When a union employee becomes sick, or one of the members of their immediate family lets says a child or spouse, it is the responsibility of the employer to contribute to the medical fee. In a case whereby a worker is not a member of a union, the employee can easily escape this responsibility and the worker will have no one to fight for them in this right. It is the right of an employee to be given a token of appreciation when they have retired from a company, this is to help them start a new life whereby they will not have to depend on salaries again, it also serves as a company’s way of appreciating their employees for work well done and the profits that they brought to the business.
Denying employee pensions is unjust, it is at this point that a union comes in and defends its members if an employee is not a member of a union, and then there is a possibility that they will be denied this right. People work better when they have rested and broken the daily job monotony that they experience in the workplace; it is fit for companies, businesses and organizations to offer their employees with holidays and vacations. Employees who are attached to a union are in the position of demanding for a holiday or leave, in most circumstances under many unions, the vacations are paid for, and thus, the employees enjoy this free benefit. Such benefits only come to members who are in a union while those employees who are not in a union lack this benefit.
Another reason that is more enticing and will drive one in joining a union is job security. When a person is not a member of a union, their situation is more of hiring since they are more prone to getting fired even in situations where there is no concrete reason for the action (Hartley, 1992). In cases whereby an employee gets to be fired because of their race, religion, age and the like, a union comes in and defends them and thus providing them with security for their job. Workers in a union can only get fired if the case of their firing is just and proven. Through the union, they have a say and a right to defend themselves whenever their job is at risk. Union members are provided with the opportunity of going through a grievance procedure whereby they present their claims and get to be heard. When things get out of hand, they are allowed to go through an arbitration process.
Every worker wishes to work in a safe environment. Some of the safety things that employees yearn for from a workplace include safety training, appropriate equipment, and clear guidelines and procedures that are required while reporting and reacting to accidents and negative incidents that take place in the workplace. Many employers fail in this and do not provide the employees with such safeties and thus being in a union is of an advantage since a union is going to fight for you into acquiring these kinds of safeties. Many unions are capable of securing more realistic training that’s leads to fewer workplace accidents. Also, unions have the abilities to walk employees through hard workers who are hard to deal with as an individual regarding compensation. A union contract places the workforce in a position of addressing a situation or conditions that they think they are not safe.
It is clearly observed that union jobs pay much more as compared to nonunion jobs. Studies conducted in many industries, regions and businesses have shown that the wages of union members are approximately fifteen percent higher to those of nonunion members (Hartley, 1992). This is the more reason many companies resist unions since they do not want to pay more.
Being in a union gives an employee a chance of not tolerating irrational behaviors such as crumbling bosses, arbitrary decisions, or harassment from fellow workers (Guest, & Dewe, 1988). Even though one can be fired for not doing their job up to the required standards but still they do not have to beg and work in fear to gain mercy from bad managers and employers. In a union contract, there is a particular degree of expertise that has been put in place that makes the workforce and managers get better and become good bosses. Therefore, there is no room for making arbitrary decisions that are far way off from professionalism.
Throughout the world, it has been observed that union workers are better workers when compared to nonunion workers. Many employers in the job market will prefer to pay higher and in return get good performance rather than pay a low wage and in return, they receive poor performance (Klandermans, 1986). A good job well done will result in an enormous profit or recognition as compared to work that has been poorly done. From this, it is clearly deduced that workers who are in a union are more competent in the job market as compared to those who are not in a union and thus it is more advantageous if one joins a union.