Civics Today Citizenship, Economics, & You

Chapter 22: Business and Labor

Chapter Overviews

Businesses play many different roles in our economy. The most common form of business organization in the United States is the sole proprietorship. This is a business owned and operated by a single person. It is the easiest form of business to set up and allows the owner to make all of the decisions and receive all of the profits. A partnership is a business owned by two or more people. There are fewer partnerships than any other form of business. A corporation is a form of business that has many of the rights and responsibilities of an individual. One of the biggest advantages of the corporation is the ease of raising capital. All forms of business organization have both advantages and disadvantages.

In order to obtain higher pay and better working conditions, some workers choose to join together in labor unions. Workers who perform the same skills join together in a craft or trade union. Different types of workers who all belong to the same industry form industrial unions. Organized labor operates at the level of the local union, the national or international union, and the federation. Unions and company officials engage in collective bargaining to negotiate workers' contracts. When the two sides cannot reach agreement they may agree to mediation.

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