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A union is a group of personnel who have organized together to attain their common goals.  The leaders of the union bargains and negotiates with their employer for union members. The negotiation may be associated with wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and policies.  The negotiated agreements are binding on the members and employer.

The Industrial Revolution caused the development of labor unions in the U.S.  Unions may include individual workers, professionals, past workers, or unemployed personnel.  The development of different forms of unions in the U.S. is influenced by changing political and economic circumstances.

 The objectives and activities of most unions include:

  • Provision of benefits to members by providing professional training, legal advice, member representation, health and unemployment protection packages.
  • Explicit operation of collective bargaining power with employers and authorities to negotiate wages and working conditions.
  • Enforce industrial actions like strikes or resistance to achieve particular goals.
  • Influence legislative authority to take favorable steps to the interest of groups as a whole by initiating campaigns, lobbying, or support candidates or political parties for public office.

In the entertainment industry, unions like the Screen Actors Guild (SAG),  Directors Guild of America (DGA), Writers Guild of America (WGA), Producers Guild of America (PGA), International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), American Federation of Musicians, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and Actors’ Equity Association play a vital role in the development of group members’ rights and working conditions.

Inside Unions