Essay question: How are trade unions and employer associations similar? Should they be considered functional equivalents or should they be treated as one another? Discuss.
Employer Associations and Trade Unions
The right to work and rights in work protect Australian workers’ rights to unionise. The Australian Constitution doesn’t contain any explicit statements regarding freedom of expression. Australia is an ally to seven fundamental international human rights treaties, which guarantee freedom of association, speech and petition (Law Council of Australia – 2020). That encompasses the right of worker unions and associations to take collective action to pursue their members’ interests. The rise in trade unions has led to many employer associations and other organizations. A trade union is an organisation of workers that protects and advances its members’ interests in the workplace. The employers are not required to support trade unions. However, they must develop a close working relationship like a partnership to help identify common interests and objectives for everyone’s benefit (Wright & McLaughlin, 2021). The unions negotiate agreements on working conditions and favourable pay, discuss members’ interests with employers, provide members with financial and legal advice, and accompany members in grievance and disciplinary meetings.
On the other hand, employer associations are non-profit representative organisations that support and advocate for their voluntary members (Thornthwaite & Sheldon, 2021). They are the managers’ and owners’ versions of trade unions and can be organised around organisation type, size, and geographical location. They pool their resources in order to spread costs across multiple organizations.
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