Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.
Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.

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What should business owners know about unions?

Unions are a part of the work environment for many businesses in Las Vegas and elsewhere. Typical industries that have unionized employees include construction, trucking and mining, although unions can exist in any industry. Like many business owners, you might have strong feelings on whether unions are necessary. It can help to understand the basic reasons that unions exist.

It may surprise you to learn that historically, unions represented the rights of workers in industries where they were often exploited or injured. Near the turn of the 20th century, it was not unusual for employees to work inhumanely long hours or in dangerous conditions without safety standards. Children were often forced to work in grueling, unsafe conditions. According to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, unions played a major role in establishing safety regulations, setting work hours and limiting child labor, among other safety and health improvements in the workforce.

Are unions still necessary today, many decades after such reforms in the workplace? Often, business owners resent what they believe are intrusive and controlling actions by unions. You might say that unions cost your company too much money and become overly involved in the operations. On the other hand, many employees appreciate having a union to back them up, represent their interests and allow them to have a voice in the company. Under the National Labor Relations Act, both employees and companies have rights regarding unionization within the company. Since these laws may be complex and are often misunderstood, this blog is not intended to replace the advice of a lawyer.

John P. Aldrich
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