U.S. History/Labor unions


What are the typical affects of labor unions? I was talking to a friend of mine about how there are two big grocery stores in our area and one has lower prices, better quality food and certainly better variety. Practically has a restaurant. So basically it is superior in every way from the other. My friend tells me the other place is unionized while the superior one isn't. I tend to be pro-unions, but could a union make things that much worse for the alternative store?

Outcomes can be different, but union workers tend to get paid more.  They also tend have more rights to breaks higher overtime pay, and limits on what tasks they can be asked to perform.  In highly competitive markets, this will usually result in higher costs for the consumer.  Typically variety and food quality should not be affected, though the store may be trying to reduce price differentials by cutting corners elsewhere.

While unions can be great for protecting workers, they almost always increase costs and put limits on productivity. This is why business owners almost always oppose them.

U.S. History

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Michael Troy


I can answer just about any question on early American History. My specialties are the American Revolution through the Civil War/Reconstruction. I also have greater expertise in matters relating to military, political or legal history.


I have lectured at George Washington University regarding the Civil War, as well as several elementary school Civil War demonstrations. I was also a member of a Civil War reenactment group for about 10 years.


J.D. University of Michigan B.A. George Washington University

Awards and Honors
Truman Scholar

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.