Today's Unions are a Business. As labor brokers, today's unions rake in billions of dollars every year from unionized employees—the majority of whom are required to pay the union or be fired from their jobs.
There are currently more than 60 national unions throughout the United States, the majority of them headquartered in Washington, DC, where union lobbyists and top union brass have easy access to politicians and regulators. On the job, most unions perform their services through "local unions."
After peaking in 1945 when unions represented 35.5% of all workers in the United States, unions have been shrinking for more than 50 years. Today, more than 90% of America's private-sector (non-government) employees are union-free. And, for those employees who are unionized, the vast majority of them did not choose to become unionized but are required to pay a union as a condition of employment.
Unions' main service is being the exclusive "employee representative" of an employer's employees. For this "service," employees are charged a monthly fee called union dues. Employees can also be charged initiation fees to join the union, as well as a host of other fees. Additionally, unions can also charge their members assessments (money on top of normal dues) for special union needs, like increasing revenue for organizing or if the union runs low on money.
In terms of "who" controls the union, this is found in the union's rule book which is also called a "constitution." All unions have a constitution and most local unions have a supplemental rule book called bylaws. Both of these documents are like legal contracts between a union and its members. If a member violates something that is in the union's constitution, nearly every union has the right to place its members on trial. If a member is found guilty at a union trial, members can often be kicked out of the union, have his or her membership suspended, or be fined money. If a member refuses to pay a union fine, the union may take that member to court in an effort to collect.
Due to decades of declining union membership, today's unions have begun an aggressive campaign to unionize America's union-free workplaces. Unions have professionally-trained salespeople called "union organizers" who used a variety of union organizing tactics to manipulate employees into unions.
One of the main "services" that any union performs is "collective bargaining," which is the bargaining for a labor contract. According to published reports, today's unions fail to achieve contracts 45% of the time after employees choose to unionize. When collective bargaining fails, unions can (and often do) call unionized employees out on strike.
If you have become targeted for unionization and have a question about unions or the process of unionization and remaining union-free, please e-mail your question, by clicking here. [For employers, click here.]
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