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Five Common Myths About Labor Unions

Business owners, executives, and directors do not like it when workers try to unionize. As a result, they tend to promote a number of myths about labor unions, in order to discourage workers from exercising their legal right to collectively organize. Here are just some of the most common myths people say about labor unions:

  1. Myth 1: Labor unions will cost you your job
    • One of the biggest myths promoted by anti-union activists is the idea that getting a union, and negotiating for a labor contract, will cost workers their jobs. This is often couched in language implying that the only way to get better wages and pay is by cutting other workers, while other times it is a thinly veiled threat of termination for labor organizers. Either way, they are in the wrong. Labor unions help protect workers’ jobs, and can act as a check against illegal or unjust business practices.
  2. Myth 2: Unions can close companies
    • Another myth that business owners love to promote is that unionization will destroy their company. This is meant to scare workers who might be willing to risk their own jobs to form a labor union, but might not be willing to do the same to their coworkers. However, this is another lie, as there is no proof that unionizing has any effect on a company’s survivability, and may help it to prosper in the long run.
  3. Myth 3: Unions only exist to profit off of union dues
    • Anti-union messages often like to paint union organizers as greedy and corrupt, looking to grow rich off of union dues. This tends to paint labor unions as a kind of racket, where a worker must pay into the union or face the risk of unemployment. However, union dues are not there to benefit organizers or bosses, but instead to help cover the expenses union members incur when they are on strike. This helps to minimize the financial risk that comes from striking against an employer.
  4. Myth 4: You can be forced to join a union against your will
    • Another common myth is that once a union contract is in place, workers have no choice but to join the union. In this type of messaging, workers are beholden to labor unions, forced to do the union’s bidding and continue paying dues against their will. In reality, though, these sorts of “closed shops” with mandatory labor membership have been illegal since 1947, and at worst, you can only be forced to make a charitable donation equal to your coworkers’ union dues if you do not want to join the union yourself.
  5. Myth 5: Unions only help union workers
    • In this type of myth, unions are described as exclusive clubs that only truly benefit union members. If you do not join the club, or are not covered directly by the union contract, you don’t get the benefits. However, unions benefit everyone at a workplace, by guaranteeing better working conditions and holding employers accountable for their misdeeds. That is why, if you have been hesitant about unionizing, you should speak to a labor law attorney who can explain the benefits of a labor union to you.

 

If you have gotten into a legal dispute with your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 40 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steven Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000 or visit his contact page.

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