trade union

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trade union:

see union, laborunion, labor,
association of workers for the purpose of improving their economic status and working conditions through collective bargaining with employers. Historically there have been two chief types of unions: the horizontal, or craft, union, in which all the members are
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Trade union

A combination of trades organized for the purpose of promoting their common interests with regard to wages, hours of work safety measurements, unemployment compensation, and other benefits.
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trade(s) union

an employee organization primarily concerned with improving the conditions and rewards of the working lives of its members. Sociological analysis of trade unions has involved:
  1. distinguishing them from other forms of employee organizations;
  2. explaining their emergence, the forms they have taken, the objectives they have pursued, and the strategies they have adopted;
  3. examining trade-union government, levels of member involvement, and trade-union democracy;
  4. consideration of the impact of trade unions on work and wider society.

Internationally, differences in overall patterns of trade-union organization (e.g. number of unions, degree of centralization and involvement in government and level of membership) are striking; sociologists have also been interested in the implications of these differences.

Trade unions can be distinguished from PROFESSIONS, which are fully in control of the content of specific areas of work and often also able to control recruitment, and also from staff associations, which, as largely management-sponsored organizations, are often limited to a consultative role (see also UNIONATENESS).

Explanations for the emergence of, and variations in types and objectives of, trade unions have occasioned considerable debate. Fundamentally, however, trade unions can be regarded as attempts to offset the unequal relationship between employees and employers under capitalism (see also CAPITALIST LABOUR CONTRACT). Differences in the manner and degree to which different categories of workers were able to enhance their bargaining capacity accounted for historical differences between different kinds of trade-union organization, e.g. distinctions between ‘craft’, ‘general’ and ‘industrial’ unions. More recently, distinctions between different types of trade union have tended to break down, with the proliferation of new ‘market-based unions’ (i.e. accepting single union, single status, flexible working, no-strike agreements), and a debate within the trade union movement between ‘traditionalists’ and ‘new realists’. The problems currently facing unions in Britain are those arising from the restructuring of the national and international economy, decline in membership (particularly in manufacturing), anti-trade- union legislation and reduced union political influence (see also CORPORATISM) Analysis of the internal dynamics of trade unions has been largely concerned with testing MICHELS’ thesis that as political organizations grow larger they become less democratic and more conservative (see also IRON LAW OF OLIGARCHY). Conclusive statements on this issue are difficult given the various measures of democracy that exist (e.g. responsive leadership, institutionalized opposition, active participation, effective representation of members’ interests). It is clear, however, that variations in levels of ‘democracy’ are related to the characteristics of the membership of a union (e.g. social status) and the context in which the union operates (see also LIPSET).

A main strand of sociological debate about the social impact and effectiveness of trade unions has concerned their implications for CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS and whether they constitute any kind of threat to capitalism. Explanations for what are in fact usually seen as relatively limited trade-union objectives -at least in Britain – have focused on:

  1. the way in which they have segmented the labour movement by organizing around the stratification of occupations;
  2. the emergence of institutions through which conflict has become institutionalized and regulated; and
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
For example, the Indian National Trade Union Congress closely affiliated to the centrist Congress Party and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh associated with Bharatiya Janata Party express their opposition to labor flexibility.
"Our aim now is to establish sector-wide trade unions, which will group together existing unions with the same industry such as health, education, oil, metal and construction.
the sphere and noted that the organization led by him worked out a program, which was aimed at the development of the trade unions.
Trade unions have raised a charter of demands that includes - to contain price rise, to ensure employment generation, strict enforcement of labour laws, universal social security for unorganized and organized workers, stoppage of disinvestment in Central and State Public Sector Undertakings, abolition of contract labour, removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund and assured pension for all.
"Given the state of Wirral council's finances, I do not believe it is fair for taxpayers to be expected to foot the bill for the salaries and activities of full-time trade unions officials."
Awad pointed out that he "shall strive to raise the issue of the right to form trade unions and federations to the Parliament's Chairmanship, in order to vote on it in a Parliament session soon," reiterating that "the closure of trade unions is considered as a measure rejected by the public opinion and a violence to the Iraqi Constitution."
History teaches us that capitalist institutions, including the trade unions, cannot and do not renew or transform themselves.
Addressing a press conference, president of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) Bishnu Rimal said that trade union leaders coming together on one platform for their common cause was a big achievement.
Trade union officials are full-time employees of the union, acting on behalf of the members.
It is important for existing and new trade unions both in the West, and in the former socialist bloc countries of the East, to know what the attitudes of employees towards the trade union movement are, and whether there are any possibilities for increasing union membership.
Ajaero said: 'We still remember your insistence and determination in pursuing the review of all the Labour and Trade Union Laws in Nigeria so as to plug all the loopholes that allow malicious and wicked employers to abuse and violate the rights and privileges of Nigerian workers.
RIGA, Aug 23 (LETA) The Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) insists that the government, when revising the 2020 budget, includes financing for raising teachers' wages, LETA learned from the trade union.

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