AIMS AND POLICIES OF TRADE UNIONISM
THE ECONOMIC BASIS OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
1. Primary Objectives of Collective Bargaining. -- Collective bargaining is the answer of the organized workers to their real or fancied helplessness under the present wage system. The chief object of labor organizations is the raising of wages or the maintenance of customary standards of living against a rising price level. Closely associated with the objective of higher wages, however, is the desire of the workers for a shorter working day and increased leisure. Indeed, these two primary objectives of collective bargaining have often been merged into a single ideal. The following slogan of the American Federation of Labor is typical.
Whether you work by the piece or work by the day Decreasing the hours increases the pay.
The securing of these two primary objectives of collective bargaining is conditioned by the strength of organized labor. Hence, another primary aim of trade unionism is the maintenance of the right and the power of collective bargaining. Trade unions constantly seek to strengthen their own forces and weapons. They are bitterly opposed to any practices or restrictions which may sap the effectiveness of collective bargaining.
2. Secondary Functions of Labor Organizations. -- Trade unions are often mutual benefit associations which provide out of their accumulated dues for their disabled, bereaved, or unemployed members and families. Labor organizations sometimes maintain insurance programs of their own for the numerous hazards which their members face. Often they are affiliated with fraternal benefit associations. Labor organizations also frequently serve as employment bureaus for their members. They seek to find jobs for those out of work, and frequently maintain valuable records of the amount and causes of unemployment.
Some labor organizations perform important educational work. Periodicals are published, and numerous meetings are devoted to educational as well as to business programs. Thus, the garment workers maintain evening classes and even college courses for their members. Their annual almanac possesses artistic, literary, and educational merits, as well as a mere utilitarian purpose. The discussions in economics