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An auto union history (Part I of II)

Unions date back to the 18th century, to Europe to be exact. The industrial revolution was in full force and things need to be welded, moved, fabricated and designed. The resources at the time were human in nature which resulted in a massive surge of workers to keep pace. The same occurred, but later, in the U.S., and a natural extension of coalescing thousands of folks is when people worktogether, over time their interests naturally begin to align. Tribesare formed, and while on the job, technically employees report to a higher structure, loyalty between workers grows stronger by the day and if rules or mandates from above are perceived as unjust or unwarranted, the tribe fights back.

The core objective of unions, the world over, are essentially the same represent a groups interest in the workplace as a single, entity. Entities are more powerful than individuals when it comes to negotiating and currently there are over 60 major unions in the U.S. representing north of 14 million workers in arenas such as firefighting, mining, teaching, engineering, transportation, medical professions and of course, autoworkers.

The common benefits touted for being part of a union is a voice on the job, better benefits, and hopefully, better pay. This last point is debatable as it is highly variable according to each industry. Unions work like any democracy elections are held for officers who then make decisions on behalf of their members. In the U.S. it is legal for employers to attempt to persuade their employees not to unionize,but they cannot prevent employees from doing so by using violenceor similar coercive action. Employers are not required to agree with unions, but if an agreement is reached then a collective bargaining agreement is the document that legally puts the agreement in motion.

Stay tuned for Part II.

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