Unions: Leadership vs Membership

Labor Unions formed out of necessity in the late 1800’s due to poor wages and poor working conditions for workers during the industrial revolution.  Early on unions were viewed by workers as the best way to achieve a say in how they were treated by their employers. There were numerous times that Unions called strikes to try to achieve wage increases or better working conditions for workers.  As time went on union leaders deviated from employee welfare and became interested in control of their employers by using the employees as a weapon.  They also realized that political power was available to them through the direction of workers contributions to politicians favorable to the unions goals.  It became a quid pro quo where unions would back candidates with the unions money and encourage their members to vote for the candidate in exchange for advantageous legislature.  The consolidation of power caused union leaderships to belive that they could get away with a variety of petty crimes which eventually grew into significantly larger crimes.  The quid pro quo eventually evolved into influence pedaling which is illegal.  Recently a number of union leaders have been caught embezzling union funds and some were even involved in racketeering.  This has resulted in unions being placed under  observation by various government agencies which has curtailed their ability to engage in criminal activity.  However the underlying motivations for engaging in that type of activity still remain due to the concentration of power in union leadership.  It seems that many unions are in need of a reform in how they are run.

Secondary source: https://www.justice.gov

Primary source:  http://depts.washington.edu


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