Thispaper will analyze the article “Labor : A Public HealthInstitution by authors, Beth Malinowski, Meredith Minkler, and LauraStock. In this article, the authors have demonstrated how laborunions have played a significant role in building a fairer societywhere workers, their workplaces, and communities become healthier. Inthe author`s point of view, unions play a role in addressing bothphysical and psychosocial work conditions, as well as the underlyinginequalities, despite their imperfections and challenges as depictedin the first paragraph. Additionally, the authors have continued withtheir illustration of how labor unions are involved in hypertensioncontrol, tobacco cessation and asthma (Malinowski et al., 2015, p.263).
Inmy opinion, unions remain an important political, economic and socialactor, which promotes workers’ rights, fair wages, workingconditions that are decent and social programs for every citizen.Labor unions advocate human rights and democracy where members becomerepresented and protected from unfair discipline and dismissal. Thus,I agree with the authors argument that there exist a positiveassociation between unionization and worker’s self-rated healthwith income hypothesized as an essential factor. Authors suggest thatunion membership can have a positive effect on workers’ wages.However, am in agreement with the authors that mechanisms that helplabor unions to create healthy workplaces and sustain health workersare not well documented despite acknowledgment of a link betweenworkers health and working their conditions. It is true that withimprovement in labor unions organization, operation and structuresocial inequalities and health disparities for certain groups in thesociety are addressed (Malinowski et al.,2015, p.262).
Inaddition, I also agree with the authors argument that unions havetheir imperfections and that the public health community have taken along time to explore how labor union affects health. Researchdemonstrates that strong unions benefit both the unionized andnonunionized workers through establishing a higher prevailing wage,thus reduce wage inequality. On the other hand, apart from collectivebargaining labor unions play other significant roles such as intobacco control measures. In this article, a survey demonstrated how48% of union officials supported a total ban or restrictions ofsmoking in the workplace. This article also highlights how unionshave engaged in “public health research, practice and policyconcerning hypertension and asthma” In hypertension prevention andtreatment by union have partnered in the study of strategies toreduce cardiovascular risks. Additionally, this article points outthat unions are key partners in the fight for asthma prevention bypromoting green cleaning and chemical hazards in the workplace(Malinowski et al., 2015, p. 263).
However,unions have their imperfections and face challenges in their rolessuch as in the case of early tobacco control, which involved theirdiverse members creating a conflict. Additionally, the Union’shierarchy makes it hard for some local unions to cooperate on publichealth or other issues not in the interest of the largerorganization. The article highlights gender inequality where womencontinue to be underrepresented in the union’s leadership.Therefore, improvement is required in the union’s commitment togender equality, especially in local leadership levels for them tofit in the partnership of public health issues.
Inconclusion, this article continues to emphasize my point of view thatlabor unions have an equalizing impact in the society. Traditionally,the greatest union advantage is better wages for young people andwomen and other workers who face incident of market discrimination.Workers and labor unions have a tendency to work more cooperativelyif individuals are treated with respect and dignity, and as a result,this can boost productivity and performance. It is, for this reason,the authors challenge public health professions to engage laborunions as significant partners to improve the public healthinfrastructure in the future. In my view, labor unions aresignificant and continue to play an important role of making thesociety equal and democratic.
Malinowski,B., Minkler, M., & Stock. L. (2015). Labor : A PublicHealth Institution. AmericanJournal of Public Health, 105(2),261-271.