Trade union

From ArticleWorld

Trade unions have developed through history and now carry out several activities for employees. These at times include provision of benefits to employees such as unemployment insurance, legal representation in employment matters, collective bargaining, organization of industrial action, strikes and the backing of political candidates that represent the interest of their members.


The beginnings of the industrial revolution saw appalling work conditions develop. With the start of the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century, there was a rapid expansion of the work force to include women, children and workers from rural communities. The use of this large work force was often coupled with appalling conditions and low wages. This work force would eventually organize itself throughout its beginning and initiate changes in the work environment.

Unions today

Unions today organize sections of skilled workers, a cross-section of workers or all workers in a particular industry. The union is often able to negotiate with employers for better wages, work conditions and benefits on behalf of the employees they represent. When agreements cannot be made, situations can develop where there is industrial action by employees or management lockout of employees.

There are instances where the legality of unions have been in question and these have resulted in legal action such as criminal prosecution of union leaders and members. Throughout history and presently this has resulted in violence and deaths.


The unionization of the labour movement has resulted in many improvements to the work environment today as well as improvements to life in general. It has ended child labour practices in many countries, improved safety conditions on job sites, increased wages, reduced hours in a work week as well as improved the general standard of living of society.