By Amanda Vender

What Is a Labor Union?
A labor union is an organization of workers. All kinds of people can be in unions, from doctors to actors to construction workers to airplane pilots. Through a union, workers can negotiate a contract, a written document, with their boss to ensure better wages and working conditions. Unions also help workers work together to solve problems, stand up for their rights and work for a better society for everyone.

For hundreds of years, workers have been organizing for better wages and working conditions. Here are some of the activities workers do together through a union to pressure the employer for better wages and conditions.

Wear the same color or a ribbon. On certain days, everybody wears the same color or a ribbon. This shows the employer that the workers band together.

Art by Gary Martin
Art by Gary Martin

Make a petition. A petition is a statement about an issue that workers sign and present to the boss.

March into Work Together. Everyone waits outside the door and walks in together at the beginning of the day. This shows that the workers are unified.

marchtowork

Boycott. Workers may call on the public to stop buying the product they make, so the employer’s business will suffer until the employer gives in to the workers’ demands.

Strike. Workers refuse to work. Workers stand outside the workplace and rally for their demands. This is a last resort to put pressure on the employer to agree to the workers’ demands.

strike