Americans in Action

To have some control over the wages they receive as well as over other working conditions, American workers form labor unions. Unions are based on the Idea that workers as a group will have more influence on management than will individual workers acting alone. "San Bernardino County and the union representing 11,600 workers agreed Thursday to [salary] and benefit increases costing $75 million over three years, negotiators said The San Bernardino Public Employees Association contract, if approved, will raise salaries 9.3 percent and increase employees' benefits allowances by 42 percent over three years Chris Prato, general manager of the Public Employees Association, said of the benefits increase, ;We had been campaigning on that publicly and privately for more than a year, and it worked.'"

Right-to-work, state by State r

Today, 22 states have right-to-work laws allowing workers a choice about Joining a union. In which U.S. regions are most right-to-work states?

Interpreting Maps

Today, 22 states have right-to-work laws allowing workers a choice about Joining a union. In which U.S. regions are most right-to-work states?

States with Right to Work Laws

I SLales wilhoul Right-to-Work Laws

How Unions Are Organized

Organized labor operates at three levels; the local union, the national or international union, and the federation.

A local union is comprised of the members of a union in a factory, company, or geographic area. The local union deals with a company by negotiating a contract and monitoring the terms of the contract.

Above the local unions are the national unions.These organizations are the individual craft or industrial unions that represent local unions nationwide. Unions that also have members in Canada or Mexico are often called international unions.

National unions send organizers to help employees campaign to set up local unions. To help in negotiating a contract between a local union and a particular company, the national unions provide lawyers and other staff members. In certain industries such as steel and mining, the national union negotiates the contracts for the entire industry. *After the majority of union members acccpts the contract, all the local unions within the industry must work under that contract. Some of the largest unions are the United Automobile Workers (UAW) and the United Steel-workers of America (USWA).

At the federation level is the AFL-CICX formed in 1955 by the merger of the xAmerican Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The federation represents more than 13 million working men and women nationwide.

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Union Arrangements

Some people criticize labor unions for trying to control the supply of labor. In the past some unions supported the closcd shop. This means that a worker had to belong to the union in order to be hired by a company. This arrangement was more common in the past than today. When die government passed the Taft-Hartley Act in erican

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