Union organizaing and multiple generations within the workplace

Today a fellow student in class made an interesting point about the generational differences when it comes to union organizing. I found an interesting article that attempts to make sense of these generational differences. Kovary (2013) argues that:

When Gen Xers and Gen Ys join unions, they often find that they don’t have sufficient numbers to be influential. They also find it difficult to navigate the structure of the union given its rigor and formality.

Gen Xers are typically less inclined to be “political” and they tend to get less involved in unions and organizations. While members of this cohort are quite vocal about their own issues and expectations, they tend to be less vocal when it comes to issues regarding the group. Members of this generation typically look after their own self-interests first.

While Gen Ys are more collective and oriented, they don’t necessarily see their current job as a life-long career. They expect to have many different careers and they often expect to change career paths frequently. This can cause them to be less involved in unions as they don’t feel as though they will remain in one field for very long.

These are all great points worth considering. In my case, I have never worked in a unionized environment, but I do recognize the benefits of having one. I agree with Kovary, on the point of frequently changing careers and how many of my peers seem to be more focused on investing in their own individual human capital and less on collective efforts to improve their current working conditions within a particular work environment. I believe a lack of job security has played a role in this phenomenon.

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