Difference Between Union and Non Union (With Table)

Every time a company decides to lay off some of its workers, naturally the question regarding Union or Non-Union of the workplace has arisen again. Non-union workers who have not worked at a Unionized workplace struggle to grasp the concept of Union. However, it is necessary to understand the structure and function of workplaces.

Union vs Non Union

The difference between Union and Non-Union is that the work culture of a particular workplace is defined by either the employer or the employees. Work culture includes all the aspects of a working environment, namely, wages, schedules, safeguards, etc. The power of defining the work culture of a workplace is dependent on Union or Non-Union.

The union consists of a group of workers from the same field, who collectively put up their demands and bargain to achieve a contract between the Union workers and the employer. The contract demands set wages, schedules, benefits and safeguards for the workers. After establishing a contract, the Union looks after the effective implementation of the signed contract.

Non-union refers to a workplace with the absence or prohibition of any union. Usually found in private sectors, the workers do not form groups and put up collective demands. The power of setting wages, working hours and ensuring welfare measures lies with the employer or the management of a company. The employers attempt to devise a mutually beneficial solution between the company and the workers.

Comparison Table Between Union and Non Union

Parameters of ComparisonUnionNon-Union
PowerThe power is vested with the Union of workers. Workers can collectively demand and establish contracts which is beneficial for them.The power is vested with the employers or the management of a company. The employer decides the working conditions, which naturally favours the company over its workers.
Fair wagesUnions are effective in deciding fair and reasonable wages. As a result of the collective demand of the workers, the Union can work towards establishing fair wages for its workers.Non-Union is undesirable and irregular in providing fair wages to its workers. The employers are focused more on profit-maximization and not on providing fair wages.
Job securityWorkers at a Unionized workplace do not worry about losing their jobs. Unions ensure job security to the workers unless in cases of misconduct.Workers at a Non-unionized workplace, or usually in the private sector, are in constant fear of being dismissed or laid off.
AutonomyWorkers belonging to a Union lose their individual autonomy. Not every worker would agree with the decisions of the Union.Workers are allowed to practice their individual autonomy within the confines of the company’s conduct. Workers do not need to worry about their co-worker’s opinions.
CollaborationThe relationship between the supervisors and unionized workers is very less collaborative and has resulted in the loss of trust and support between them.Non-Unionized workers receive the required guidance, collaborate more frequently with their supervisors and work together as a team.

What is Union?

The concept of Unions predates the era of Ancient Rome. Beatrice and Sidney Webb define Union as “a continuous association on wage earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the condition of their employment.”

The age of the Industrial Revolution in Britain roped in an increased number of women, children and immigrants in large numbers to work in the industries. This resulted in growing conflicts between the workers and the employers. Unions were borne as a result of this conflict. Unions were influential in solving labour issues and bringing about labour welfare measures.

Unions today are found mostly in the public sector and rarely in private sectors too. Unions are set up to basically have a say in deciding the work culture of a particular workplace. Workers collectively form Unions and decide the required wage, working hours, social security and other welfare measures.

The Union provides the demands of the workers to the employer or the organization, and a contract is signed between the Union and the organization. The contract tries to honor the worker’s demands by also maintaining the company’s needs. A unionized workplace provides the decision-making power to the Union in matters related to workers. Unions continue to exist to safeguard the workers’ rights and welfare.

What is Non Union?

Non-union refers to workplaces where there is an absence or prohibition of Unions. Non-union workplaces are pretty common, especially in the private sector. Along with the rise of unions in the 18th century, people were also aware of the issues of unionizing.

Private companies were not impressed with the trend of unionization and were actively opposing it by keeping their workplaces non-unionized. Non-union workers do not have much of a say in their work culture, but they do have a sense of individual freedom and autonomy to exercise.

Non-union workplaces are workplaces of organizations where the power and authority to decide the work culture, wages, schedules and other welfare measures lie with the employer or the management of the company. The non-unionized workers do not have a collective voice through which they can put up their demands.

Since employers are responsible for deciding the work culture of their company, the focus is more implied on profit maximization and increasing the company’s value. The employers put their company’s targets over the demands of the workers. The employers decide what is beneficial for the company and then accept the workers’ demands. Employers attempt to develop an agreement that agrees with the company’s targets while also providing the basic necessities for the workers. 

Main Differences Between Union and Non Union

  1. The power to demand and make decisions lie with the workers in a unionized environment. Non-union work environment allows the workers to have no say in decision-making.
  2. Grievances and complaints of the workers are handled better through a Union. Non-unionized workers struggle to bring the concerns to the company’s light.
  3. Union workers are expected to pay a hefty amount of union dues fees every year, to support the functioning of the Union. Non-union workers do not have to pay money for any of these.
  4. Union workers are forced to submit to the decision of the Union, even though they have different opinions. There is very little individual autonomy in a Union. Non-union workers are free to express their opinions and are not concern about other’s opinions.
  5. Welfare measures like health insurance and paid sick leaves are adopted and followed religiously in a unionized workplace. Non-union workplaces do not strictly adhere to the welfare schemes for their workers.

Conclusion

Serious questions have been raised regarding the necessity of unionized workplaces to safeguard the welfare measures of the workers. In simple terms, Unions act as the voice of the workers in an organization and have a say in deciding the work culture of their workers.

But Unions also play a major role in curbing individual autonomy and freedom while making collective decisions. Non-union workplaces do not allow the workers to decide but promotes collaboration between the workers and supervisors and try to find common ground between the employees and employer. The necessity of a Union or Non-union workplace depends a lot on the organization, sector and the treatment of workers.

References

  1. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F001979398003300401
  2. https://doi.org/10.1080/09585190701391925

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