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Unions and Mothers

  • By: Cassandra D. Engeman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Unions are groups of workers who collectively negotiate with their employers over the terms and conditions of employment and mobilize politically in the interests of workers. Unions negotiate with employers to establish legally binding contracts that serve as enforceable written agreements between both parties. Through unions, workers have been able to rally support for family-friendly labor legislation and negotiate compensation and benefits that ease the lives of working mothers. While some labor scholars have given attention to the relationship between women and unions, little attention has been given to the relationship between unions and mothers, specifically.

After the passage of the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which gave workers in the United States the right to form and join unions, unions quickly grew to represent ...

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