Unions and Work and Family Integration


  • Robert Drago
  • Jennifer Fazioli

Document type: Encyclopedia Entry

Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia

Year: 2003


  • Organizations
  • Unions
  • Work and Family


  • Inter-/multi-disciplinary


Many unions in the U.S. historically promoted the “separate spheres” vision of work and family (“W-F”), with a breadwinner father in the workplace and a housewife in the home. The concept of separate spheres implied that work (i.e., employment) and home (i.e., family) issues were to remain distinct entities that did not overlap. Therefore direct involvement in family issues was largely limited to the passage of child labor laws and prohibitions against female labor in the early 1900s. These “protections” promoted the vision of separate spheres by inhibiting labor market competition and limiting women’s and children’s role in the economy. In addition, however, by striving for high wages, pensions, and health insurance covering entire families for their members, unions helped working men serve as breadwinners, raised the standard of living of entire families, and facilitated many women’s ability to be non-employed.

Link:Unions-Work_Family_Integration encyclopedia