Why Workers Unionize If employees believe they do not get what they need from their employer, they often turn to unions in hopes of achieving some sort of equitable treatment. There are many reasons why an employee may choose to join a union, but it is primarily because they are dissatisfied with how they are treated by their employers and feel the union can improve the situation. Here are three indicators that may lead employees to attempt to unionize:
Unreasonable pay and benefits - While some may argue that wages and benefits are not always on the top of the list as one of the job satisfiers it is certainly one of the more important ones. Ensure compensation packages are commensurate with that of competitors. Do not remain stagnant! Develop a philosophy that provides some flexibility so an organization is able to adapt and adjust with current market conditions. Also, be consistent in pay and benefit administration.
Management (or lack thereof) - Employees complain that management is absent and not interested in their well-being. And if managers are present, they are likely disconnected with the work and lack interpersonal skills. Also, when management indicates they are not interested or responsive to complaints or concerns that are shared by staff it creates low morale among the group and makes it difficult to accomplish required tasks. Managers are responsible for creating an environment that provides a respectful and safe work place.
Inadequate communication – Often this is the biggest problem. Employees tend to criticize management about communication and how they (employees) don’t know what is happening within the organization or have enough information to do their job. And when management does communicate, it is done so poorly or comes across as insincere. Foster open two-way communication. Inform staff on goals, successes, events, etc. and how staff plays a role in achieving those goals so they feel “connected”. When in doubt, share both good news and bad as this helps contribute to feeling connected to the organization.
Employees unionize because they are dissatisfied with something related to their job or work environment. Inequitable pay, poor management practices and insufficient communication are subjects that contribute to them. Employees don’t unionize because of union influence necessarily and are more likely to unionize because they are against the employer. When management treats employees like valuable human resources, employees will generally not feel the need for outside representation.
Evolution of Unionism
Working-class history is the story of the changing conditions and actions of all working people. Most adult Canadians today earn their living in the form of wages and salaries and thus share the conditions of dependent employment associated with the definition of "working class." The Canadian worker has been a neglected figure in Canadian history and, although Canadians have always worked, working-class history has received little attention. Until recently, the most common form of working-class history has been the study of the trade union, or labour, movement (unions are organizations formed by workers in…