Contrast and Compare the Union Membership of Employment Relations in the UK and the USA

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According to Rose (2004), the study of the regulation of the utilization relationship between employer and worker, each collectively and separately, and therefore the determination of substantive and procedural problems at industrial, organisation and working place levels. Concerns about how work and employment relationships are regulated, experienced and contested (Williams 2013) can help people find out the inter relations and enlarge utilisations.

Although the study of employment relations focuses on work regulation, the broader economic and social influence on the relative power of capital and labour and the interactions between employers, workers, their collective organizations and the state must also be taken into account (Bamber and Lansbury, 2011).

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No matter in which country, North and South, workers, employers and governments have both same and different interests, short term and long term. The different interests must be accommodated and reconciled. International comparisons will definitely bring out and explain where those differences and similarities of national industrial relations systems come from (Eaton 2000).

According to Frege and Kelly (2013), the Comparative Employment Relationship (CER) study must be based on the global economy and its impact on regional, national and sub – national employment relationship regulation.

This report will compare comparative employment relations in the aspect of union membership in USA and UK . It will illustrate the historical and political background of the USA and the UK respectively, the employment relations will be analyzed with the history and policies together. Then, a chart comparison of union membership between the USA and the UK will be illustrated. Some opinions and a conclusion will be given at the end of this report.


Since the late-nineteenth century, giant industrial enterprises were established with bureaucratized labour management systems and a high-wage system, which is also known as ‘Fordism’ (Frege and Kelly, 2013). Fordism is assembly line mass-production manufacturing for mass consumption, following Taylorist principles (like division of labour, planning, surveillance, and performance related pay). However, it was not the workers getting rich, it was their bosses. Those bosses had made large profits, by paying worker very low wages per hour. In the case of that, industrial workers had created unions to fight for their benefits, which is called labour movement. First, they accomplished the work-free weekends. They fought for reducing their working hours to make time for family relaxation. The most famous one was the Haymarket Riots, happened in Chicago on May 1st , 1886(YouTube, 2019). Child labor was also protected by labour movement. In 1886, unions forbade that kids under 14 were not allowed to be employed. Most of those protests had got results.

Right following the Pre-New Deal Industrial Relations Period (1886-1933), the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 marked the beginning of the New Deal Period (1933-1945).

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