The National Labor Relations Act, a United States federal law that was passed in 1935, was aimed at restricting negative reactions elicited by employers when workers in the private sector take part in strikes or form labor unions (National Labor Board, 2010). Also referred to as the Wagner Act, the law seeks to protect the worker from an unfair treatment by the employer, which included prohibition of formation of labor unions by employees; employer’s active participation and domination in labor organizations; and employee discrimination due to charges filed against the employer (National Labor Board, 2010).
Current statistics indicate that the American union membership, specifically in the private sector, has declined to under 9% since the enactment of the National Labor Relations act (White, 2010). Similarly, periodic surveys carried out by several market research farms show that few Americans are now willing to join labor unions compared to the first half of the twentieth century. A report from one of the telephone surveys carried out by Rasmussen Reports indicates that 47% of the unionized workers are of the opinion that most workers are unwilling to join labor organizations (White, 2010).
One shocking statistic from the report shows that 81% of non- unionized workers would not want to join a labor union while only 9% were willing to join. As opposed to workers in the private sector, government workers are more likely to belong to a labor organization (White, 2010). There are several drawbacks associated with unions that discourage potential members. A high fee required by unions is in itself the most discouraging factor, especially in this era of global financial crunch. Another drawback for joining labor organization is that that the worker looses individuality.
Labor organizations will give a ruling or decision based on a simple majority, but the decision by the majority might not necessarily represent views of all the unionized workers. Individual settlement of disputes between an employer and the employee may not be allowed by the union, even in a case whereby the agreement seems to be beneficial to both parties. Union leaders in this case make a decision concerning a worker’s individual complaint, a decision which sometimes might not be satisfactory to the worker.
This lack of individual representation and bargain is of much concern for many employees. One other concern voiced by the un-unionized workers is that members can be fined for engaging in activities that are deemed ‘unconstitutional’ to the union’s regulations. Such activities range from seeking membership and representation from different unions to even breaking strike regulations. These fines can be substantial for the worker to pay and this can be enforced in a court of law. In conclusion, labor organizations are becoming less popular with time.
Correct administrative and legal structures need to be put in place if the trend is to be reversed. Finally, public awareness on the benefits of labor unions should be carried out if the trend is to be reversed. References White, J. (2010). US Trade Union Members at Lowest Level More Than a Century. Retrieved May 8, 2010, from http://www. wsws. org/articles/2010/feb2010/unio-f03. shtml National labor Board. (2010). National Labor Relations Act. Retrieved May 8, 2010, from http://www. nlrb. gov/about_us/overview/national_labor_relations_act. aspx