trade union

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Alternative forms[edit]


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trade union (plural trade unions or trades unions)

  1. An organization whose members belong to the same trade and that acts collectively to address common issues.
    • 2013 September 28, Kenan Malik, “London Is Special, but Not That Special”, in New York Times[1]:
      When the first wave of postwar immigrants arrived in Britain in the 1950s and ’60s, it was a period of rising wages, full employment, an expanding welfare state and strong trade unions. Today, Britain’s manufacturing base has all but disappeared, working-class communities have disintegrated, unions have been neutered and the welfare state has begun to crumble.
    Synonym: union, labour union (Canada), labor union (Canada, US)

Usage notes[edit]

Some authorities, chiefly in the UK, suggest that the plural of trade union is trade unions when the relevant unions all represent the same trade (for example, "The train drivers were divided between two trade unions."), but trades unions when they represent different trades (for example, "There are hundreds of trades unions in England."). However, trade unions is commonly used for both cases.[1]

Derived terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2011, Simon Heffer, Simply English: An A-Z of Avoidable Errors, page 359