This exercise has several purposes. The main one is to have you understand the role of unions and assess whether they are relevant today. By looking at each of the prescribed websites, you should become more familiar with what unions do and how they are structured. This stepped process can also help you identify resources you may need later in the term.
Go to the AFL-CIO federation website (www.afl-cio.org). Look at the programs and services it offers. Under the About AFL-CIO tab, review “Our Mission and Vision” and “What the AFL-CIO does” to glean how the federation is structured. The AFL-CIO is not a union itself, but many national unions do participate in the federation. Note that under the “What the AFL-CIO does” section is a list of unions.
Find the Communications Workers of America national union. Go to its website (http://www.cwa-union.org/ ). Review what it offers and how it operates. Note, in particular, the section “Democracy in Our Ranks.”
Next, go to the website of Local CWA 3706 (http://www.cwa3706.org/ ), which represents workers in Columbia, South Carolina, to see what it emphasizes. Note in particular the information under the Benefits tab. Also, look at the Information—Union Dues page. The Weingarten Rights that were discussed in the Weis article is illustrated with an actual employee card under the Information tab as well. Recall from the BLS article that South Carolina has the lowest union membership rate. Think: Do workers in that state not want the protections the union offers?
Then, using one of the four schools of thought to support your position as well as at least one of the assigned readings, state why you think employees do or do not join unions. Please post a brief paragraph in the Week 1 Discussion forum.
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