Case of A. E. Staley Manufacturing Company, which was taken over by Tate and Lyle, is a prime example of corporate greed where the ‘union’ must become the major facilitating factor for workers’ justified demands and ensure fair contract for them.
The concept of ‘unions’ in the 1980s has given a great impetus to the employees to fight for their rights. The primary objective of ‘union’ is to work towards the welfare of the workers and members. The union leadership is representative of workers’ needs and requirements. Indeed, the power of collective bargaining is a vital ingredient of union strategies and therefore, needs to be highly intuitive of the various facets of employment conditions that may have an adverse impact on the wider interests of the working people. The legality of union is a reflection that employees have been recognized as groups whose welfare might be at stake vis-à-vis employers’ unjustified demands and unfair practices to exploit the workforce for their own financial gains.
The concept of a labor unions is not new. While in the nineteenth century, the laws favored the employers rather than catering to the interests of the employees, the early twentieth century witnessed the transforming role of the union from pursuing political agenda to ‘business unionism’. Hattam (1993:3) asserts that the union’s philosophy of ‘business unionism’ primarily consisted of ‘workplace concerns achieved through collective bargaining and industrial action on the shop floor’. Lebergott (1972:220) also affirms that the new labor movement had started as early as the 1830s with around 26,000 members which increased to 700,000 in the 1880s. The 1880s and 1890s also saw more labor-related disputes in the court of law and the emergence of state legislatures in the area of labor imperatives. New York was the first state to pass the legislation regarding the regulation of employees’ hours and was initiated as a result of the plight of railways workers whose long schedules could result in injury to self and others as a result of .fatigue.