labor movement in USA

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The expansion of infrastructure and the start of the industrial revolution

The expansion of infrastructure, which included the construction of roads, homes, and trains, led to the start of the industrial revolution in America after the Civil War. Nationally and internationally, markets expanded. Employees became upset and irritated as a result of the industries' daily expansion of their establishments and feeling overworked beyond their capacity. Labor movements emerged as a result by the middle of the 19th century as a response to the economic and social effects of industrialisation. In America, the primary motivation for the establishment of labor movements was to defend the workers' shared concerns. This particular situation involved discussions about benefits, pay negotiations, and discussions about working conditions. Even today under the United States labor law, labor unions are recognized as the advocate of workers in their working places like factories. The paper intends to highlight some of the positive and negative impacts of unionization of labor in the United States for the past 100 years.

Positive Impacts has the Unionization of Labor had in the United States

Unionization of labor in the United States has brought positive impacts specifically to the employees, which include good working conditions, job security, better wages and other benefits. The unions work tirelessly to guarantee that their members are safe and work under conducive and favorable environment. Employees who are members of various unions enjoy more job security than those who are non-members since the unions have the final say on whose contract to be terminated, who to be disciplined and how.

Through unions, employees have so far found a better platform to air out their complaints. Unions also negotiate terms with top management on their behalf. Employees who are registered to various unions, through their unions can have access to some benefits which includes, sick leave, paid vacation time, health cover, compensation just to mention a few. (Saez, 2016).

Unionization of labor in America has also brought positive impact to the management. It is because most agreements between unions and managers are reached by signing contracts; therefore it is a plus to managers because when they reached a deal with unions and a contract approved, it will be difficult to challenge it not unless the contract expires. It makes it very possible to envisage costs which are related to pay and benefits. Managers also experience minimum issues of employee turnover, since employees would want to remain as union members to enjoy benefits which unions advocate for. When employee turnover is low then managers will not have to spend more money on training new employees (Saez, 2016).

Labor unions have improved employee satisfaction leading to quality services. Through unions, employees are satisfied because they know that there is someone to broker deals with the employer on their behalf, such that when they demand better wages and other benefits, the unions will be there to negotiate terms with the employer. Through unions workers also feel satisfied that they are involved in decision making which initially was left to top-level management only. Employees get more satisfied and motivated when the employer meets their needs, increasing their work performance automatically resulting in improved output, quality services, and quality production (Arthur, 2016).

Negative Impacts the Unionization of Labor had in the United States

While unionization of labor is considered to have brought a lot of positive impacts to labor sector and management, it has also brought some negative impacts as well. Although the positive impacts outnumber the negative impacts; negative impacts can be more severe. For instance when a negotiation between unions and management/employers does not reach to a conclusion, it can results to serious undertakings like strike. Not forgetting employees who are not members to any union can also strike. When union officials' calls for strike and the majority of employees agree then the minorities have no choice but to participate or else they face social consequences. Strikes will not only results to financial problems but will also give a bad picture of the organization leading to loss of trust between management, customers and even the suppliers (Saez, 2016).

Managers sometimes find it very hard to deal with unions, especially when they are not in good relationship (Arthur, 2016). Usually, such relationships results to antagonism, whereby unions would want to frustrate managers by resisting every decision made by the managers, such as decisions regarding employee's contract terminations, disciplinary actions. Basically, this seems to be more beneficial to the employees, but on the other hand it is a stumbling block to the managers (Arthur, 2016). When the management tries to take action against an employee, the union will do everything possible to prevent it from happening. Also the aspect of signing contracts when an agreement is reached between managers and unions, sometimes make it difficult for managers to even initiate basic changes to the system. (Saez, 2016). Union rules also limit the ability of managers to make some changes in the organization such as promotion, because according to union’s promotion is not based on quality but on seniority. (Arthur, 2016). Therefore unionization of labor in the United States brought more benefits to employees as compared to employers.


Arthur, L. (2016, October 26). The Advantages of Labor Unions for an Organization. Retrieved from

Saez, A. (2016, September 29). Advantages & Disadvantage of Labor Unions. Retrieved from

February 01, 2023

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