Throughout the course of the twentieth century the labor movement in the United States has taken a number of twists and turns. From unionization during the period of industrialization to the decline of the union and the literal demise of the labor movement in the 1980s and 90s, the American labor force has fully explored the power and process of unionization. Unfortunately, at the present time, many organizations, employers and workers have come to fear unionization, believing that this institution will ultimately promulgate the further decline of labor and the domestic economy. Clearly, the hostility that has been developed with respect to unionization is a notable change from the social sentiment that was present in the United States in the mid-twentieth century. Today, unionization is on the decline and the modern worker is subject to the terms of the at-will employment contract. Although this type of working environment in what is upheld as best for the American worker, research on the overall benefits that can be provided by unions and unionization seems to suggest that unionization provides a better atmosphere for the American worker. In an effort to demonstrate the potential benefits that can be garnered through the process of unionization.
[...] However, as scholars examining the issue of unionization in the modern labor force note, there are often a wide range of reasons why more professionals are seeking union membership. For instance, Dugovich (2006) explore recent movements by professional engineers in the United States to unionize. According to this author, many engineers are seeking unionization not just because of the pay and healthcare benefits that can be garnered, but because of the empowerment that unions can provide for professionals. According to Dugovich, union lets workers get their voice, expertise and experience into the processes affecting their careers, profession and products they build [ ] Without a union, management doesn't have to listen to engineer or any employee.” In the case of professionals looking to secure union representation, it is evident that there are a number of notable benefits to union membership that stem far beyond the financial advantages that could be garnered. [...]
[...] Flanagan contents that this opposition has taken on two forms: oppression of labor union participation activities and the development of new models to improve relationships between labor and management. Flanagan argues that because organizations face constant external threats to profitability, management has no other choice but to ensure that labor union participation does not evolve in the organization. If this occurs, the organization will not be able to retain a competitive edge. Taking this argument one step further, Bronars and Deere note that organizations in the United States take notable steps to avoid unionization because of the overall impact that this change would have on competition and the domestic economy. [...]
[...] Thus, even though the economic costs of institution labor unions is seen as too high for organizations, the social costs of this proposition are quite stunning: one-third of the population has no healthcare insurance; the number of working class poor continues to increase; and employers pay such low wages that many low-income employees can qualify for Medicaid. These are just a few of the problems that arise when labor is not given a fair advantage. When framed in this context, one cannot help but wonder what the true costs of unionization are to the organization. [...]
[...] However, changes in the nature of labor and shifts in the demographic composition of the labor force seem to suggest that the labor union model is simply not suitable for the modern labor force. Although the analysis provided by scholars examining labor unions in the United States does indeed have some degree of credibility, the reality is that there is another side of the unionization debate that needs to be elucidated. Only by examining the changes that have been made in labor unions to accommodate labor and demographic shifts will it be possible to demonstrate that the union still represents a viable means for protecting the rights of the American worker. [...]
[...] According to the BLS “union membership rate has declined from a high of 20.1 percent in 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available.” Given the union membership began to decline sometime in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it is reasonable to assume that at their height in the mid-twentieth century, labor unions involved a large percentage of the labor force in the United States. Although the number of individuals actively engaged in labor unions across the United States continues to decline, the BLS does go on to provide some notable data about the prominence of these organizations toward improving the lives of employees. [...]
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