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What Are the Benefits of a Trade Union?

Updated July 19, 2017

Trade Unions in the United Kingdom, or labour unions in the United States, originally formed to ensure fair wages and safe work spaces. Trade unions, and the laws that govern them, have since evolved to suit the modern workforce. Problems addressed by trade unions include discrimination, loss of benefits and outsourcing. Unions provide advice, representation and legal council to members.

Basic Rights

Trade unions provide basic education and representation to workers regarding their rights. Basic rights include minimum wage, adequate breaks, basic health and safety, and protection from discrimination. Union representation helps individuals have more power against an employer when making a claim. Trade union members are often offered free or deeply discounted access to legal services.

Collective Bargaining

Trade unions assemble workers in order to have the greatest impact when negotiating contracts. Being part of a trade union can lead to an increase in wages or benefits for an entire workplace. These negotiations can also help save jobs and increase compensation for overtime. Trade unions have power nationally as well as locally; unions working in solidarity with one another can affect national minimum wage, health benefits and pension plans. Additionally, international union organising can reduce outsourcing or improve the quality of working conditions for workers in similar professions worldwide.

For the Employer

In addition to being beneficial to the employee, trade unions can be helpful to employers. Trade unions ensure easy negotiating communications via a single representative. Additionally, workers' moral and production may increase as they feel compelled to be more involved and loyal to the business.

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About the Author

Jessica Powers has been writing online professionally since 2009. Her articles have focused on travel, law and general knowledge. Currently, she is working on a creative project about the art of beer tourism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Minnesota.