Today, labor unions exist in a wide variety of industries and fields, yet many workers, whether they are members of a union or not, do not fully understand how unions function or recognize all the advantages and disadvantages associated with union representation.

The purpose of this section is to briefly explain how and why employees join or form labor unions, the benefits and disadvantages to them of doing so, the obligations union membership imposes, the difference between government and private-sector unions, and the basic workings of the collective bargaining process.