What is a labor union?

While there is a wide variety of work industries in the state of New York, not all work places are designed the same or function the same. In some companies and large corporations, employees set up organizations to ensure their employee rights are outlined and followed. Labor unions are unique to certain industries and they can provide many benefits for employees.

What is a labor union? A labor union is described as an organization that is made up of workers that belong to the same trade or field. Unions can vary is size, some involving less than a hundred employees while others have millions of members. Large or small, labor unions use collective bargaining to negotiate with employers and further the interests of the members.

Collective bargaining can help improve the wages, employee benefits and even the work conditions for employees. In addition, labor unions can also participate in lobbying and be involved in local and national elections. The purpose and goal behind labor unions is to have an overall positive influence, helping them achieve better results together versus individually. It should be noted that union members pay dues to the union, which covers the costs of services and benefits.

Even if a workplace does not currently have a labor union, it is possible to take steps to form one. Federal and state laws govern private sector unions; however, the National Labor Union governs private unions. If there is a strong interest among employees to form a union, a petition will need to be filed with the National Labor Relations Board. It will then be determined whether or not an election will be held.

Whether you are currently a part of a union, about to join a union or considering forming a union, it is important to understand how a union works and how it benefits everyone involved. Being informed about labor unions could help employees and union members address labor law issues that present themselves.

Source: Findlaw.com, "What Is a Labor Union?" accessed May 6, 2017

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