trade union

(redirected from Labour unions)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Encyclopedia.

Trade Union

An organization of workers in the same skilled occupation or related skilled occupations who act together to secure for all members favorable wages, hours, and other working conditions.

Trade unions in the United States were first organized in the early nineteenth century. The main purpose of a trade union is to collectively bargain with employers for wages, hours, and working conditions. Until the 1930s trade unions were at a severe disadvantage with management, mainly because few laws recognized the right of workers to organize. With the passage of the National Labor Relations Act (Wagner Act) of 1935 (29 U.S.C.A. § 151 et seq.), the right of employees to form, join, or aid labor unions was recognized by the federal government.

Trade unions are entitled to conduct a strike against employers. A strike is usually the last resort of a trade union, but when negotiations have reached an impasse, a strike may be the only bargaining tool left for employees.

There are two principal types of trade unions: craft unions and industrial unions. Craft unions are composed of workers performing a specific trade, such as electricians, carpenters, plumbers, or printers. Industrial union workers include all workers in a specific industry, no matter what their trade, such as automobile or steel workers. In the United States, craft and industrial unions were represented by different national labor organizations until 1955. The craft unions that dominated the american federation of labor (AFL) opposed organizing industrial workers.

During the 1930s several AFL unions seeking a national organization of industrial workers formed the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO). The CIO aggressively organized millions of industrial workers who labored in automobile, steel, and rubber plants. In 1938 the AFL expelled the unions that had formed the CIO. The CIO then formed its own organization and changed its name to Congress of Industrial Organizations. In 1955 the AFL and CIO merged into a single organization, the AFL-CIO.

Membership in U.S. trade unions has fallen since the 1950s, as the number of workers in the manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy has steadily declined. Union membership in 1995 comprised just 14.9 percent of the workforce, compared with a high of 34.7 percent in 1954.


Collective Bargaining; Labor Law.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

trade union

an organization (whether permanent or temporary) that consists wholly or mainly of workers all in an organization whose principal purposes include the regulation of relations between workers and employers. It is not to be treated as a body corporate but it may sue or be sued in its own name. Special rights and privileges accrue to a union that is certified as independent by the Certification Officer, who must also maintain a list of unions. The main legal benefit a union has over other bodies is the immunity that it and its members and officials have against many tort actions. However, aside from the GOLDEN FORMULAE, which must be satisfied, recent restrictions require action that is sought to be immune to be founded upon open and fair balloting of members.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
Contributing to the matter, the Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations explained that the respect this government and the sector Ministry have accorded labour unions is 'record high and extraordinary.
Jafar argues that the railway workers' union, the sbka, and all labour unions which emerged after the declaration ofindependence, owed little to the labour unions that had preceded them in the 1920s and 1930s:'[...] union formation during the revolution period was a development situated narrowly within a finite time frame which drew little from the colonial period.' (p.
"After several meetings, labour unions approved most provisions and the law was approved by the cabinet that referred it to the Shura Council," the ETF statement read.
National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) director, Walfredo V Villazor, said HSBC Philippines and the Hong Kong Independent Labour Union agreed to voluntary arbitration in a conciliation meeting held on Wednesday.
Labour unions are an emotional subject for many people, including Conrad Black, chairman of Hollinger Inc., the major shareholder of Southam, which owns the Calgary Herald.
To confront these monsters, it became necessary for labour unions to spring up and give workers the necessary voice to balance the equations with employers.
The meeting holding in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is being attended by officials of the Federal Government, representatives of the organised private sector and representatives of labour unions.
09 : 21 AM - 24/07/2018 Manama, July 24 (BNA): Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC)'s President Abdulrahman Jawahery has met with the Bahrain Free Labour Unions Federation (Al Hurr)'s Executive Board Chairman Yaqoub Yousif Mohammed and board member Ausama Salman Hassan.
Thousands of various trade, labour unions workers participated and paid homage to them on the occasion.
Strengthening co-operation between the two brotherly countries' labour unions and examination of reality of Maghreb and Arab trade union movement were the focal issues of these meetings.
Decentralizing industrial relations and the role of labour unions and employee representatives.
Regrettably, the labour unions in the country over the years have remained visibly weak and self-centered when it comes to general issues.