A labor union (also known simply as a union or a labor organization) is a group of employees in a certain trade, industry, or corporation that organize to improve their salary, benefits, and working conditions.
Labor unions stand as an advocate on behalf of the employees and will negotiate with the employers through collective bargaining, usually with elected representatives, which are elected through the union's internal democratic election mechanisms.
A local group of employees receives a charter from a national labor organization to organize a union. The Change to Win Federation (CtW) and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) manage the majority of labor unions in the United States.
In the United States, worker-organized unions have a long history of fighting for employee rights and protections such as a shorter workday and a minimum wage. The right to form unions was established in 1935 by the Wagner Act, also known as the National Labor Relations Act.
[Last updated in April of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]