Union amalgamations: motivation, barriers, risks, and benefits

2017-06-08T01:52:59Z (GMT) by Hanley, Glennis
Union amalgamations are a complex phenomenon, and are not easily achieved. Typically declining membership and related financial difficulties, overlapping jurisdictions, lack of economies of size, the need to increase bargaining power, employer re-organisation or corporate mergers, and protection against raids from other unions are cited as motivating forces behind an amalgamation. Increased bargaining power as a marketing tool is used by union officials in promoting amalgamations. Opposition from both union officials and rank and file members, who may fear a loss of power or identity, may thwart amalgamations. That is, certain sectional interests can obstruct what may have led to positive gains for the average member. Pressure brought to bear from other unions can also prevent an amalgamation. The principal perceived benefit flowing from an amalgamation is increased union power. The potential risks associated with an amalgamation may include the loss of power of rank and file members, a sense of alienation from rank and file members, and an increase in the power of union officials.

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