What are the Different Types of Labor Union Jobs?

Felicia Dye

A labor union is a group of individuals who band together so they can increase their influence and experience mutual benefits. Such groups are commonly industry based. The existence of these types of organizations dates back to the 19th century. There are many labor union jobs still in existence. These include those held by factory workers, nurses, and educators.

Many electricians are union workers.
Many electricians are union workers.

In the United States, there are numerous well-known labor unions. The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) is one of the largest. Although many labor unions are industry based, UAW has a diverse membership. Members include local government staff, hospital personnel, and faculty at educational institutions.

Mine workers are widely represented by the National Union of Mine Workers.
Mine workers are widely represented by the National Union of Mine Workers.

Another diverse American union is United Steelworkers (USW). This union does not limit its membership to those who work with metal. It represents those with labor union jobs in the rubber industry, the paper industry, and pharmaceutical industry.

Construction workers are among those represented by labor unions.
Construction workers are among those represented by labor unions.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) primarily represents employees of the United States Postal Service (USPS). APWU maintains a status as the largest postal union, but it is not the only one. The jobs that are most popular in this organization are clerks, maintenance, and motor vehicle services.

Hospital staff, including unit clerks, are often members of a labor union.
Hospital staff, including unit clerks, are often members of a labor union.

There is also the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC). The NALC’s members tend to be those who deliver mail. The National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) generally represents labor union jobs that involve handling mail in bulk.

Mail carriers are union employees.
Mail carriers are union employees.

Union jobs are not only available in the United States. Many countries have well-established labor unions for a variety of professions or industries. In Canada, for example, the majority of registered nursing positions are labor union jobs.

The unions that represent Canadian nurses are organized by province. There is, for example, the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses Union for people in that area. Nurses in Nova Scotia, however, are likely to be members of the Nova Scotia Nurses Union.

In the United Kingdom, there is the Communication Workers Union (CWU). This union represents employees in numerous communication industries. These include people who work for the postal service, television stations, and telephone companies.

South Africa also has several prominent unions that represent people with various jobs. The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), for example, represents a large portion of the nation’s educators. Mine workers, construction workers, and electrical personnel are widely represented by the National Union of Mine Workers (NUM).

Members of labor unions engage in collective bargaining with their employees so that they may receive acceptable wages.
Members of labor unions engage in collective bargaining with their employees so that they may receive acceptable wages.

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Discussion Comments

Crispety

I wanted to say that union organizing still yields a lot of power especially among the teachers in the United States. The teacher’s union is very powerful and it is among the most effective of the Wisconsin labor unions.

They lobbied to get a law overturned that the Governor of the state just passed that would limit the collective bargaining options for the teachers. So although some say that unions are losing their power, I really don’t believe that they are.

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