Unions are described as an organized body that is formed to represent workers during engagement with employers. The main purpose of the trade unions is to advocate for the improvement of the workers working environment and conditions as well as protecting the needs of the workers. It is important to understand that unions does not allow a single employee to significantly influence the outcome of the engagement about their job. The importance of formations of unions is that it increases the bargaining powers of the employees (Godard, & Frege, 2013). In the past two decades, the trade unions in the United States was shaping the landscape of the working environment. However, in the 21st century these trade unions are doubted if they still serve their purpose considering a more refined labor laws that have been put place. The comprehensive analysis on the existing economic condition and working environment, it is clear that trade unions are still needed.
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Based on the dynamic working condition, unions are still needed by the workers because the constant changing environment makes them vulnerable to misuse by their employers. Yates (2009) observed that because of the electronic communication that is currently revolutionizing the business environment notes, Multinational Corporation tend to shift their operations to regions where cheap labor is accessible. This means strong trade unions in the United States should work towards protecting the working environment and conditions in which the employees extracting raw materials for companies in the United States to consume. Similar incident can occur when labor intensive companies’ imports labor force from regions with lower wages. Another factor that make workforce of the United States to be more vulnerable to be manipulated by the employers, is the emergence of globalization. These has enable the workers from third world and lower wage countries o travel to countries that have strong unions such as the United States and Europe. As a result of influx, the employers tend to use ‘divide rule’ strategy to weaken, the strength of the unions (Yate, 2009). These developments requires a very strong labor in place to champion the rights and better working conditions for the workers across the global.
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Some have argued that most of the roles that were undertaken by the trade unions have been engrained in the constitution, court decisions, administrative ruling and statutes. As a result, unions are no longer needed in the present world since their main functions have been overtaken by events. For instance, in the United States Constitution, Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts was purposely constituted to protect workers against discrimination based on gender, ethnicity/race, culture, status, education and religion. Despite all these arguments and counter arguments put forward by various scholars, the relevance of the unions is much alive in the present society due to social fabric it brings in the community.
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For example, Brazile (2012) observed that apart from engaging in collective bargaining agreement for the betterment of workers, trade unions in the United States is ranked second after military in terms training programs they offer. The trade unions enters in partnership with industries so that they take in apprentice, train them in various skills and impart the knowledge about the working environment, thus helping them to gain the experiences needed in the work environment (Brazile, 2012). This is one of the important roles played by unions in countries where unemployment rate is soaring.
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In many occasion trade unions have been accused for failing to effectively deliver on their mandates. As stated earlier, the main mandate of the trade union is to harmonize collective bargaining and present it before the representative of the employers as way of enhancing industrial peace and equity in the workplace. The inefficiencies of the trade unions arises when they are dealing with monopoly model. Under this model, the trade unions are compromised by labor cartels which create inefficient mix labor and capital. According to Samuel et al. (2015) alternative representation must be formed when such conditions prevail in the labor market. The alternative representative should be formed based on management and association from nonunion (Godard, & Frege, 2013). The formation of the alternative representation have been covered wells in the provision of the constitutions such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, (Godard, & Frege, 2013). The rationale of standardizing labor laws across the globe is to ensure that same laws and regulations are applied equally everywhere in the world.
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In conclusion, unions have played significant role in ensuring that interest of the workers are protected. Therefore, regardless of the dynamic changes that has taken place overtime, it is still necessary to have trade unions in place. The unions are still needed to safeguard workers in a constantly changing economic environment, which make employees more vulnerable. Apart from representing the workers, unions also play crucial role in ensuring that apprentice acquire the much needed skills and knowledge.
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