Free Essays

Beyond the Workplace

Voice – In unity there is strength because a group can be highly visible and their collective effort can result in something substantial. If one worker is unproductive, this behavior is insignificant in the overall scheme of things but if half of the work force is unproductive then the bottom line of the company can be seriously affected. Grievance Procedures – It is one thing to express grievances and another thing to expect a response.

By creating grievance procedures a union member is guaranteed that the right people will look into his or her problems and expect a prompt response. Negotiated Health Plan – A great health plan is like having money in the bank. This simply means that if an employee is entitled to a health plan then when he or she gets sick there is no need to use his or her savings to cover medical needs. Pension Benefits – There is no greater incentive than the knowledge that ones labor today can be translated into a better future.

There is peace of mind knowing that when the age of retirement comes the person will still have access to funds that will help the person enjoy a full life. Figure 3. Safety training is both beneficial to the employee and the employer as it will reduce the risk of accidents and saving lives in the process. It has been pointed out that there members of labor unions have a clear advantage over nonunion workers. There is considerable difference in pay as members are assured of negotiated wages.

They also are assured of many benefits including those that are non-related to wages and pension but play a major part in their productivity such as safety training (see Figure 3). This means not only safety in the workplace but a heightened sense of satisfaction in their jobs. But successful labor unions like the IBEW are creating positive change not only in places where their members find employment but even across the U. S. labor market. Their influence and significance can be seen in their active participation in the political realm.

For instance the IBEW is supporting The Employee Free Choice Act which is considered as the most important piece of legislative proposal in 70 years (AFL-CIO, 2009). A proposal that could change the lives of workers as it can remove barriers that prevent workers from forming unions; guarantee workers a contract when they form a new union; and strengthens penalties against companies that hinder organizing campaigns and deliberately sabotage first contract negotiations (AFL-CIO, 2009).

This type of activities will not only benefit IBEW members but other workers as well. Conclusion It is much better for workers to become members of a labor union. There is so much that they can gain and very little to lose except perhaps the time needed to organize and to continually discuss strategies that will help improve their lives and the lives of their families. Labor unions allow solitary workers to have the power to negotiate wages and to demand for healthcare among others.

This means greater job stability and job satisfaction for workers. In the case of the IBEW this labor union is not only helping workers gain freedom from unscrupulous management but it is also working hand-in-hand with other labor organizations across America and Canada to pressure the respective governments of these two countries – to think not only of the rights of employers but also of employees as well.


AFL-CIO (2009). “The Employee Free Choice Act. ” Retrieved 08 February from http://www. aflcio. org/joinaunion/voiceatwork/efca/10keyfacts. cfm International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. ” Retrieved 08 February 2009 from http://www. ibew. org/ The Library of Congress (2009). “Today in History. ” Retrieved 08 February 2009 from http://memory. loc. gov/ammem/index. html