Labor Unions in America: AFT and SEIU

Labor Unions in America: AFT and SEIU
Labor Unions in America: AFT and SEIU

Labor Unions in America: AFT and SEIU

Order Instructions:

Using the following national unions: AFT ( and SEIU (

Analyze the relevancy of the top three issues critical to the two national unions.

Consider the following:

•What are the issues? Are the issues the same for both unions? Why do you think they are similar or dissimilar?

•What is the source of the statement presenting the issue: a particular political representative, a recent poll, or some other source? Is this source reliable?

•Do you think the issues are relevant to the current world of work? Are the more relevant issues that are not being addressed? Include evidence to support your opinion.

•Do you think the issues could be addressed by management within today’s laws? Why or why not?

•Is there a better alternative than the voice of these two unions?
Present evidence you have found through your research to support your impression of the issues’ relevance to the world of work today.


Labor Unions in America: AFT and SEIU

According to Skurzynski (2008), a union refers to “an alliance of men and women, who fight together for safe working conditions, decent pay, better health benefits, the right to work at whichever jobs they want, and several other additional rights”. In America, there are numerous labor unions, which have taken an active role in championing for the rights of their members, and advocating for favorable legislation for workers within and beyond American borders (Skurzynski, 2008). The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are examples of such unions.

AFT was founded in 1916 to represent more than 1.6 million workers within the education sector, as well as nurses and other healthcare personnel (American Federation of Teachers). Through political activism, public engagement, and collective bargaining, the union advocates for economic opportunity, social justice and equity, quality education and healthcare, and democracy. SEIU, on the other hand, was founded in 1921 to represent workers in property services, public services, and healthcare sectors (Service Employees International Union). With more than 2 million union members, SEIU is the fastest growing workers’ union in America. The union campaigns for economic relief for its members, healthcare reform, better working conditions and rights, and social justice.

Both AFT and SEIU address similar issues because, in America today, organizations are more concerned with accumulating wealth than the welfare of their employees. Likewise, the nature of jobs constantly changes while the standard of living continues to rise, and yet, working conditions remain the same. Now more than ever, unions provide the collective bargaining power needed to ensure that employees do not go back to unlivable wages, impossible working hours, and sweatshop working conditions. In the absence of this collective representation, even favorable legislation and policies will have minimal impact on the welfare of employees, if there is no one to strong-arm corporations into enforcing them.

In conclusion, labor unions are exceedingly essential to America’s workforce, and the welfare of middle and low class working families. Without them, there is no better voice to champion for job security, safe working environment, better working rights, and decent wage


American Federation of Teachers. (n.d.). About AFT. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from American Federation of Teachers:

Service Employees International Union. (n.d.). About SEIU. Retrieved September 10, 2014, from

Skurzynski, G. (2008). Sweat and Blood: A History of U.S. Labor Unions. Minneapolis: Twenty-First Century Books.

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