A trade union (British English), labour union (Canadian English) or labor union (American English) is an organization of workers who have banded together to achieve common goals such as protecting the integrity of its trade, achieving higher pay, increasing the number of employees an employer hires, and better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members (rank and file members) and negotiates labour contracts (collective bargaining) with employers. The most common purpose of these associations or unions is "maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment".
This may include the negotiation of wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies. The agreements negotiated by the union leaders are binding on the rank and file members and the employer and in some cases on other non-member workers.
Originating in Europe, trades unions became popular in many countries during the Industrial Revolution, when the lack of skill necessary to perform most jobs shifted employment bargaining power almost completely to the employers' side, causing many workers to be mistreated and underpaid. Trade unions may be composed of individual workers, professionals, past workers, students, apprentices and/or the unemployed.
Over the last three hundred years, trades unions have developed into a number of forms. Aside from collective bargaining, activities vary, but may include:
- Provision of benefits to members: Early trades unions, like Friendly Societies, often provided a range of benefits to insure members against unemployment, ill health, old age and funeral expenses. In many developed countries, these functions have been assumed by the state; however, the provision of professional training, legal advice and representation for members is still an important benefit of trade union membership.
- Industrial action: Trades unions may enforce strikes or resistance to lockouts in furtherance of particular goals.
- Political activity: Trades unions may promote legislation favourable to the interests of their members or workers as a whole. To this end they may pursue campaigns, undertake lobbying, or financially support individual candidates or parties (such as the Labour Party in Britain) for public office. In some countries (e.g., the Nordic countries and the Philippines), trades unions may be invited to participate in government hearings about educational or other labour market reforms.
Other articles related to "trade union, union, trade unions":
... Solidarity (Afrikaans Solidariteit) is a South African trade union that negotiates on behalf of its members and attempts to protect workers' rights ... Although the union is often involved in issues of policial import, it does not align or formally affiliate itself with any political party ... Solidarity is a trade union within the Christian tradition of unionism ...
... Angeles to fight for better pay, and working conditions, and the right to join a union ... documentary film Final Offer by Sturla Gunnarsson and Robert Collision shows the 1984 union contract negotiations with General Motors ...
... started to take active participation in the trade union struggles in a revolutionary way ... that time, while old left parties continued to practice Trade Union activities in reformist revisionist lines, CPI (ML) continued Boycott of Trade Union activities as their political line ...
... The Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (Luxembourgish Lëtzebuerger Chrëschtleche Gewerkschaftsbond, French Confédération Luxembourgeoise des Syndicats Chrétien ... This is also illustrated by the trade union's motto Man at the Center of our action ... By membership, the LCGB is the second-largest trade union federation in the country, with a little over 40,000 members ...
... communist and anarchist political groups and trade union organizations, moved its headquarters to New York City ... state, having recently suffered a bitter internal struggle between Marxists, who supported trade union organization as preliminary to workers' revolution and anarchists, led by Mikhail Bakunin, who ... of America often tended to support a trade union orientation ...
Famous quotes containing the words union and/or trade:
“My Christian friends, in bonds of love, whose hearts in sweetest union join,
Your friendships like a drawing band, yet we must take the parting hand.
Your companys sweet, your union dear; Your words delightful to my ear,
Yet when I see that we must part, You draw like cords around my heart.”
—John Blain (18th century)
“Though in the trade of war I have slain men,
Yet do I hold it very stuff o the conscience
To do no contrived murder. I lack iniquity
Sometimes to do me service.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)