Right now the nation is buzzing with talk of labor unions. The conversation was kicked off by news of a recent vote by Amazon workers about forming a labor union. So where is this argument coming from and where is it going? Let’s break it down.
The main reason labor unions are helpful is because they represent workers interests as a unified group, rather than a few employees who can easily be silenced for speaking out on their own.
In order to fully appreciate what labor unions are good for, it’s important to understand what they have achieved for American workers so far. So what have labor unions achieved for workers? Things like these current work-life essentials:
Most of us know about and have benefitted from items on the list above. For those of us who grew up with these laws and benefits in place, it can be difficult to imagine a world without them, however for each of these items, American workers in labor unions had to come together to lobby for these rights (many times over a long period of time.)
Labor unions are still actively lobbying for more rights for workers. Much like in the past, they tend to come up against a lot of resistance for their campaigns. Currently, American labor unions are running refreshed campaigns for:
These new campaigns are a natural extension of past labor union achievements. As the nature of work continues to change and evolve for Americans, labor unions argue that they must be there to ensure that worker benefits keep up with changes in the labor market and overall economy.
Although the past benefits to having labor unions are clear when looking at the advances they brought to American labor laws, some argue that the labor union is an outdated and ineffective tool for advancing rights for workers today.
Some common arguments against workers joining unions are:
Recently, an Amazon warehouse location in Alabama has started a vote for unionizing local Amazon workers. If a majority of workers vote for a union, it will be the first Amazon union formed in the United States, and could pave the way for more Amazon unions in the future.
Those who would support an Amazon union say it would bring better working conditions to workers while those opposed (including Amazon) argue that a worker's union would only bring delays, revenue loss and interfere with the employer/employee relationship.
What's your take on this debate? Should Amazon workers form a union?