Jun 25, 2018 in Sociology

Resolved, Unions are Obsolete

Resolved unions refer to labor movements that are established by a group of employees working in the same industry or in different sectors to collectively protect their interests. There has been a heated debate lately on whether resolved unions are still necessary in modern economies. There are people who argue that labor unions are important as far as employee protection is concerned. On the other hand, there are those who believe that resolved unions are outdated and there are no longer necessary since modern economies are competitive in nature and there are laws set by governments to regulate relation between employers and employees.

            Decline of resolved unions around the world has become a common phenomenon and research show that since 1960s, the percentage of employees belonging to unions has never reached 30%. The large numbers of least unionized employees normally constitute those from the private sector, those from foreign countries, and young employees. Since majority of individuals not joining labor unions are normally young employees, it is evident that are irrelevant in modern global economies. Modern economies rely on new technologies and management systems that unite employees and employers together substituting the initial state of antagonism with a spirit of cooperation. Modern economist view labor management conflicts as luxuries that no one can afford in today’s hyper competitive economy, hence no need for labor unions.

            With modern management systems, the gaps between those who design work and those who do it, between those who give orders and those who obey still do exist. What has changed is the relation between these two parties hence bringing to an end conflicts that have been experienced between employers and employees, resulting to formation of unions. On the contrary what exist is competition and survival whereby employers are trying to have the best from their employees in order to survive stiff competition in modern free markets. According to a survey conducted on employees from Canada between 2000 and 2010, it is evident that majority of the employees would like to join unions so that they can protect their jobs and become reluctant in their workplaces. However majority of these workers are not union members due to employer and government anti- unionism campaign. Government and modern employers are much aware that unions are no longer necessary since most of their complaints are protected by labor laws that have been established after adequate consultation of all parties.

            In additional to arguments represented by modern economists against existence of unions in modern economies, these unions are the source of many management challenges facing modern organizations. One of the major challenges is politicization of labor unions. Most of the modern labor unions have been infested with politics due to interference of union leadership by political leaders. Political leaders are currently using labor unions to mislead workers so that they can have their support. Leadership of labor unions in modern unions is normally done politically whereby leaders are chosen on political grounds. This has changed the role of labor unions to that of political parties. Unions no longer represent the interests of employees but they are used by political leaders to achieve their political gains.

            Issue of corruption is also a common phenomenon in modern labor unions. Unlike in ancient times where labor unions were used to fight for better pay, better working condition and other rights of employees, modern unions are used by corrupt individuals to fulfill their personal interest. Union leaders enter into corrupt deals with employers and interests of employees are not neglected. There are times when union leaders connive with their members in order to unnecessarily exploit employers and consequently ruining the economy of their countries. Corruption has rendered labor unions useless and employees are gradually getting away from them in order to avoid work related conflicts.

            Unions are also one of the major causes of poor living standards by majority of the employees around the world. Despite the fact that modern unions are doing little in helping employees, they leech off employees’ pay check leaving them to live miserable lives. Consequently, unions require high wages for their members and this is making modern companies to have fewer workers and less production. For instance in a situation where a company employs a technician to service a processing plant for an hour for $ 60, the same company could have hired 6 technicians  for $10 an hour. This way, the company would have more employees hence making a better economy unlike in a situation where it has only one over paid employee. Some unions require employers to pay some money directly to them arguing that the money is for financing operations of the unions for the good of all. Some go as far as demanding unreasonable remunerations and other benefits for their members without considering the impacts of such actions to the welfare of the country’s economy.

            Unions are also blamed for poor production in many organizations especially in the public sector. There have been cases where unions protect incompetent workers from being sacked and this has been causing a lot of harm to modern organizations. For instance, union workers can go to work late, leave earlier than usual without a good reason and no action is taken. Some go to their places of work drunk and no one bothers. All this nonsense is simply because they belong to labor unions that prevent their employers from taking any action on them. The result in such behavior is decline in the organization’s production and poor economic condition to the country in general. Survey shows that production in companies where workers do not belong to any labor union is higher than where workers belong to freely formed unions or resolved ones.

            Lastly but not least, Labor unions are known to be behind unethical activities such as unnecessary go slow at work place and even violent strikes. Union leaders are known for their inciting statements that make workers to go violent hence resulting to loss of property and lives through vandalism. These workers mostly lose their jobs or go to jails leaving their dependants to live miserable lives especially where the victims are bread winners for their families. These strikes are also causing a lot of loss to the general economy of the countries involved since other than having public structures damages during union riots, other stakeholders such as customers, suppliers and tax department are the affected too.   

            However, labor unions have some benefits that should not be neglected. It is worth noting that not all unions are useless and there are those that play very important roles in protecting interests of their members. This is very crucial especially in situations where there are no laid laws to regulate employee- employer relationship. A good example of a situation where unions play an important role is in developing countries where there are no facilities to ensure safety of workers while at workplace.  Developers in these countries, mostly from the developed countries, are not bothered with the welfare of their local workers. All that they value is the availability of cheaply acquired labor. In such situations, labor unions are very important so that they can negotiate good working conditions and remunerations for their members. Through unions, local workers are able to protect their right especially where the business is monopolistic in nature. 

            Labor unions represent individual members who cannot air their grievances by themselves. This is normally due to lack of knowledge or fear of facing hostility from their employers. Through unions, employees are able to present their claims to their employers without necessarily having to confront them. It is through unions that labor laws are formed to avoid farther conflicts between employees and employers. There are few cases where employers take advantage of employees need for work and source of living hence exploiting them to satisfy their business interests. Labor unions also serve as a source of income to some people who work to ensure the union is operational.

            Unions are also associated with employee benefits that many argue that those who do not belong to any union do not enjoy. These benefits include reasonable payment and other packages such as good pension, decent health care, public education and other social benefits that can be negotiated by the union on behalf of all members. There exist popular perceptions that unionized workplaces are often more innovative and productive than non- union workplaces. According to preservatives, unions produce good effects that result to greater social equality. Those in favor of unions argue that without unions workers could become slaves of the rich.

            The findings above show that resolved unions have both negative and positive impacts to the welfare of employees, employers, government and the country’s economy.  Considering the benefits of unions and its harm to modern economies, it is evident that labor unions are no longer necessary. It is true that they played a big role in fighting for the rights of workers back in 1960s but currently there are laws and directives to regulate relations between employers and employees without the aid of unions. The harm caused by unions to employees, employers and general economy is overwhelming when compared to their benefits. Though still operational in some countries where there are no laws to protect workers, it is evident that resolved unions are actually obsolete and need to be abolished. 

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