labor union


Definition of labor union

: an organization of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members' interests in respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions members of a labor union with job protection under a collective bargaining agreement with the employer— Seth Sandronsky

Examples of labor union in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Prosecutors in the case claim that Samsung has an ongoing policy of not tolerating labor unions, which has resulted in less than 300 of the company’s 200,000 South Korean employees becoming members of such organisations. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Samsung Electronics chairman indicted on charges of union sabotage," 27 Sep. 2018 But a labor union for Harley employees has complained about the company's plan to close its factory in Kansas City, Mo., while opening an assembly plant in Thailand. Rick Barrett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In response to tariffs, Harley-Davidson moving more motorcycle production overseas," 25 June 2018 Not coincidentally, Kaufman points out, labor unions in Wisconsin had provided essential financial support, ground troops, and organizational power to the Democratic Party. Glenn C. Altschuler,, "'Fall of Wisconsin': Why Dems lose, and keep on losing," 13 July 2018 After labor unions refused to endorse Walker or Mallott, the two joined forces with the blessing of the state Democratic Party. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Former Sen. Mark Begich’s entry causes angst in Alaska governor’s race," 4 July 2018 This has potentially huge implications in California, where labor unions have emerged as major power brokers and fundraisers for Democratic candidates. Shelby Grad,, "Essential California: A major blow to public employee unions," 28 June 2018 It was opposed by Democrats and organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees labor union and Right to Life of Michigan. David Eggert, The Seattle Times, "Michigan GOP advances bill to make ballot drives harder," 12 Dec. 2018 This era also saw the rise of labor unions and the introduction of social security. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Robot Reality Check: They Create Wealth—and Jobs," 30 Nov. 2018 But the new agreement still faces a lengthy path to congressional approval, having been a lightning rod for criticism among labor unions and manufacturing workers. Annabelle Liang, The Seattle Times, "Asian markets fall on US-China trade worries," 1 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'labor union.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of labor union

1849, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for labor union

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for labor union

The first known use of labor union was in 1849

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More Definitions for labor union

labor union


Financial Definition of labor union

What It Is

A labor union is an organization that advocates for workers' rights and benefits through collective bargaining.

How It Works

Labor unions represent workers in both the public and private sector. Individual labor unions represent workers in specific industries and function in an intermediary capacity between employers and employees. Unions negotiate directly with employers on employees' behalf with regard to compensation, conditions and working hours.

Workers employed by transportation, shipping and manufacturing companies typically maintain contracts with labor unions. The unions agree to engage employers in collective bargaining in return for union dues withheld from payroll. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters and United Steel Workers are two prominent labor unions in the United States.

Why It Matters

Labor unions protect workers from exploitation and ensure fairness of pay as well as safe, reasonable working conditions. Many economists argue that labor unions have a distortive effect on the labor market that results in decreased efficiency.

Source: Investing Answers

labor union


English Language Learners Definition of labor union

US : an organization of workers formed to protect the rights and interests of its members

labor union


Kids Definition of labor union

: an organization of workers formed to help them get better pay and working conditions

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labor union


Legal Definition of labor union

: a labor organization usually consisting of workers of the same trade that is formed for the purpose of advancing its members' interests (as through collective bargaining) in respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions — see also craft union, bargaining unit

Note: Labor unions and employers are subject to the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or Wagner Act), as amended by the Labor Management Relations (Taft-Hartley) Act and the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure (Landrum-Griffin) Act. The NLRA authorized the establishment of the National Labor Relations Board, the federal agency which administers the provisions of the Act.

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Spanish Central: Translation of labor union

Nglish: Translation of labor union for Spanish Speakers

Comments on labor union

What made you want to look up labor union? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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