Labor unions are organizations of laborers with a common agenda of improving the working conditions of fellow workers under the union. The conditions guarded by the union include the salary, working environment, tools and terms of working (Merry, 1979).
The history of unions began in the colonial era when the European system consisted of tight regulations that governed the monopolies of product manufactures and service providers. In the 18th century, a few groups of carpenters, shoemakers and tailors began to form groups and this translated into the emergence of the unions in the early 19th century. The first labor protests that occurred during these years were spontaneous and never involved a planned agreement of workers. The first organized union strike took place in 1786 when printers in Philadelphia demonstrated against a move that aimed at reducing their wages. Following the strike, Philadelphia became the city of unions after the registration of the first union party and the first labor newspaper in the same city (Mises, 1949).
The law was always against the unions as they appeared criminal and antisocial to those who did not take part in their activities. In 1806, Philadelphia workers paid a grand for staging a strike that the courts described as being a conspiracy to fix high prices on their services. In 1842, the unions had a relief when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that unions were lawful. This made unions register members to hit a 2% mark of members in the union from the labor force. At this time, several state legislatures set laws that protected employees who registered in the unions. Labor unions members hit 6% in the 20th century as more laws and regulation protected them. The figure has been increasing yearly apart from the slight decline experienced after World War I (Reynolds, 1984).
The unions have contributed to better working standards that employers provide to employees. This includes training and orientation after a fair interview. Employers communicate performance ratings and recommend salary increments to performing and disserving employees. Disciplinary measures are fair to employees, and conflicts among employers and employees settle with fair consensus (Foner, 1947).
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