Trade unions are prevalent in many countries and have been in existence for a long time. The part of workers’ inner makeup tends to offer a sanctuary to the working staff at a workplace.
Also referred to as ‘labor union’ in American English, a trade union entails “an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals. Such unions are formed to address issues that include “protecting the integrity” of workers’ trade, “improving safety standards” at work, “attaining better wages, benefits (such as vacation, health care, and retirement), and working conditions.”
A trade union can welcome everyone and is very attractive to the workers who are prompted to join. It is an aspect of work-life that enables one to become part of a family and instill a sense of belonging. By pursuing the same goals and having set the “relatable” objectives, the members are motivated to unite and change their worldview according to whatever they deem necessary for their fight for a good life.
Usually, when a trade union is formed, it is blind to gender or any shortcomings of those eligible to join, so its hospitality becomes a safety net for the struggling working class.
Purpose of trade unions
The underlying belief is that a trade union ought to look after the workers and propel them for their fair treatment by employers. These unions can be seen as “voxi populi,” the voice of the masses who share the same sentiments. The leaders or those elected in high positions are tasked to address challenges faced by all the members and act as representatives in negotiating with the managing and administration staff.
Members in a union tend to trust the elected leadership because the leaders are picked out from the “pool of workers,” so they have first-hand information of the situation faced by workers. Due to the communication channel from the workers to the managing staff, it is hard for a person to knock on a CEO’s door, but it becomes easy to do so if representatives of a trade union approach even the founder of a company. Once established, a trade union can have an organogram of leaders, including a national committee, secretary, and chairperson.
Impact of Trade Unions
By acting as “the voice of the voiceless,” trade unions are regarded as stubborn entities which can break any hierarchy system to ensure their complaints reach the intended people. “When a group of workers act and speak together, their employer has to listen”, and this shows the ability embedded in unions’ build-up.
Other analysts described trade unions as living organisms that continue to grow daily and amass more supporters who are always geared up. Behaviorists associate such unions with a united front which can pose a danger to the higher officials if it is not listened to. From this angle, one can allude to trade unions during the oppression of citizens by colonizers. For instance, colonizers in Africa banned trade unions because they were a form of revolt or rebellion against the status quo. The labor movements eventually led to the formation of political parties, and war erupted.
The name “trade union” is tainted in some parts of the world, and many managerial personnel believes that forming a union is the first step to challenging the managers. It has been reduced to a fight between employers and employees. Some media reports show that trade union leaders are often fired for “inciting” violence or revolting tendencies in the workforce. Many military personnel are not allowed to join such movements because they can influence one to turn against the government. Trade Unions become think tanks using certain ideologies to control the masses and are masterminds behind fighting strategies such as strikes, stay-away, sabotages, and demotivation of the staff. Trade unions gain support from the majority at a company since the working staff is always more significant than the managing staff. In some cases, the higher officials would bribe these leaders as a way of “cutting off the head of the union.”
It is undeniable that trade unions effectively cater to exploited workers and stand against inequality and low wages. But these unions are very influential, especially at a large corporation, and cannot serve their rightful purpose when utilizing the “incorrect” mechanisms and ideologies. Without proper direction, trade unions can be a breeding ground for rebels and extremists.