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

Labor doesn't just mean labor unions; the movement itself is a broad, intersectional network of working people who use diverse means to fight for their rights. Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue, "Freelancers Want to Join Unions but Labor Laws Won't Let Them," 4 Apr. 2019 In September, Lee Sang-hoon, the chairman of Samsung Electronic’s board of directors, was indicted on charges of sabotaging attempts by Samsung employees to form labor unions. Dan Seifert, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Samsung," 26 Dec. 2018 The retail giant has struggled to clean up its image following lawsuits surrounding treatment of pregnant workers, a bribery investigation in its overseas operations, and efforts to prevent labor unions from organizing its U.S. stores. Polina Marinova, Fortune, "Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and 8 Other Companies We Love to Hate," 10 July 2018 Currently 28 states have adopted right-to-work legislation that says individuals can’t be required to join labor unions or pay union dues. Alexia Elejalde-ruiz,, "Supreme Court's Janus ruling could undercut private-sector unions, too," 9 July 2018 Monday’s Business section delves into moves by conservative billionaires to cripple labor unions after the Supreme Court said workers can’t be compelled to pay dues. David Lazarus,, "California Inc.: Will Comcast raise stakes in battle for Fox?," 2 July 2018 One of the biggest blows came on Wednesday, when the Supreme Court ruled that government workers who declined to join labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining cannot be forced to contribute to those unions. Washington Post, "Despite setbacks and high court’s ruling, unions show spark," 28 June 2018 The decision comes at a time when 61% of Americans approve labor unions -- the highest rating in Gallup polls since 2003 -- and teachers' strikes have roiled states from West Virginia and Kentucky to Oklahoma, Colorado and Arizona. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court deals major financial blow to nation's public employee unions," 27 June 2018 His decision to self-fund his bid helped him gain support from labor unions and other Democratic-allied groups that can now devote money try to keep and expand Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate. Rick Pearson,, "Rauner, Pritzker spent more than $100 per vote to win Illinois governor primaries," 17 Apr. 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

23 May 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on labor union

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).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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