In the olden days, people were of the notion that profits is equals to markups and margins. Many business persons were concerned about what they stand to make and that was it. This entrepreneurs made the mistake of compromising quality of goods and services, for top dollar. Such unscrupulous business persons also exploited their employees in the name of making an extra income. Within no time, such traders closed their doors to business and were no more. Observers noted that the enterprises that identified and worked towards satisfying their stakeholders stayed in businesses for a longer time and even passed their businesses to the next generation. In addition, they were profitable and grew from one strength to the next. Most of these principled traders honored their customers, and employees. Further, they took their corporate social responsibility to the community at large seriously.
The truth is, greed and vices are embedded in our social fabric. Given a free hand, people would lean towards vices as opposed to virtue. This is the case in every sector of the economy. Management would rather overwork their employees and constrain their pay. This is why there are many labor laws that ensure laborers are not mistreated or taken advantage of. However, the labor laws are not enough because each sector of the economy has its own unique set of challenges. Similarly, diverse employees have unique needs in their sector of operation. The only organization that can identify and address the unique desires of every sector is a labor union.
Trade unions are usually formed to give employees of a specific sector of the economy in the private and public sectors a unified voice. The employees use this union voice to push for better working conditions, better wages, and benefits. The benefits that employees negotiate for through their unions include bonuses, health coverage, housing, pension packages, and salary increment. Other than financial packages, workers also negotiate for safe and conducive working environment as well as flexible working hours. If an individual employee or a few employees approached an employer to improve their working condition or increase their pay, they would be labelled as rebels. Instead of getting what they asked for, they would probably be penalized or terminated from employment.
Workers unions are reputable and legal institutions that represent the plight of the workers. They are mandated to represent and provide a collective bargaining block for the workers they represent. This institutions ensures that workers are not exploited, undermined or mistreated. They sit on the round tables with the employers and push for their members’ plight. They negotiate for rules of engagement such as terms of references, job description, employee promotions, qualification, and even the rules of termination. All these is done to ensure there is fairness and the employers do not flex their muscles on helpless workers. When negotiations fail, the unions use other means to ensure their message is heard loud and clear. This include court processes and mass strikes.
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