Which Issues Are Critical Today in Labor Unions?

Topic: Workforce
Words: 595 Pages: 2


An employment relation is a legal relationship based on an agreement between a worker and an employer for the personal performance of the individual’s work function for wages. The Wagner Act was prompted by the growing labor movement and was the height of liberal labor law in the United States. The Act not only guaranteed the right of workers to organize unions, collectively bargain, strike, and picket but also created tools for implementing these rights. In practice, the application of the law encountered resistance from entrepreneurs, who used the administrative and judicial apparatuses attempting to diminish forced concessions to the employee. Thus, it is essential to establish which problems will remain relevant in labor relations.

The Challenges of Labor Unions

It is essential to mention that labor unions are common in the United States, but only a minority of workers are affiliated with them. This is because all private-sector workers have legal rights as stated in the contract they sign with their employer. In practice, though, problems occur when it is violated. For example, the employer can reduce wages without the agreement of workers (McCartin, 2017). It is also possible for an individual to violate the contract by refusing to perform significant obligations or providing confidential information about the business to someone outside the organization. Therefore, these challenges often culminate in the dismissal of the employee. In such cases, it is crucial to be a member of a union that reviews complaints to ensure that workers’ rights are not violated and that they are restored. In addition, thousands of American workers have been fired or punished for attempting to organize unions (Carrell & Heavrin, 2013). Violations of workers’ right to freedom of association are a powerful but hidden trend in the massive American economy.

Emerging Tendencies

Currently, there are issues related to low wages for laborers. For example, in 2014, a strike occurred as part of the “Struggle for $15” campaign (Islam & Safavi, 2018). Workers’ requests included an increase in the minimum salary and the creation of a trade union for fast-food employees. In that case, although the International Labor Organization defended labor’s rights to decent earnings, the lawsuits continued for a long time.

During the coronavirus epidemic, numerous workers were not provided adequate protection during the peak periods of infection in various countries and sectors. Many companies could not relocate employees to distance work, for example, McDonald’s (Islam & Safavi, 2018). Hence, issues of personal protection for laborers from the epidemic emerged. When they didn’t receive the right amount of disinfectant and managers proposed double use of a disposable mask, workers protested. As a result, company leadership provided all the required supplies and responded to the workers’ legal claims. Today, some issues are related to the health risks of minority workers, migrants, the elderly, and people with pre-existing health conditions. Mainly a problem appears when migrants are not officially employed, which is why they do not receive social and health insurance (Islam & Safavi, 2018). While the government attempts to mitigate these cases, it imposes fines and other penalties on employers who violate labor standards.


Hence, the majority of the rights in the Wagner Act are now enforced, although not all employees are still members of unions. This creates challenges when workers are dismissed from their jobs or are not provided with health and social insurance. There has been a recent trend of workers attending large rallies and struggling to restore justice when their rights are violated. The government also applies fines and other penalties to employers who restrict workers’ rights.


Carrell, M., & Heavrin, C. (2013). Labor relations and collective bargaining: Private and public sectors. Pearson Education.

Islam, S., & Safavi, M. (2018). Income inequality and labor share in USA and Canada. Archives of Business Research, 6(12), 1-10.

McCartin, J. A. (2017). Can labor still use the Wagner Act? Dissent, 64(4), 93-102.

Implementation of a Diversity and Inclusion Program
Union Membership in Private and Public Sectors