I think a union of trainers would help trainers who work for large fitness chains. I have seen gyms slash wages by 50% or more for trainers while keeping management salaries untouched. I have also seen gyms fight against unions. I believe it would benefit the maintenance staff at these same facilities who often deal with abuse. What do you think about a trainer/fitness union?
Good question. I think if you don’t like how a gym is treating you, then you should look elsewhere for a job. Even better, find your entrepreneurial spirit and start your own training business. This way you set your own hours and the hourly rate you think you deserve, and choose your own benefits deal. I worked in gyms for many years and when I had enough of working for someone else, I started my own business and it was the best thing I ever did. It’s both challenging and empowering because your success is in your hands–not someone else’s. You create your reputation for excellence in the market and you decide how financially successful you are. You make your own destiny, and this applies to life, not just being self-employed. Remember, your career in fitness isn’t limited to a gym.
Great question Philip!
I think the underlying words in your question is “large fitness chains”. We all know how large corporations operate and focus on, the almighty dollar. We know this before we interview for a position (whatever that position may be) however, that should not stop us from creatively negotiating a salary/wage/percentage based on our experience and getting it in writing. From that point we now know what to expect.
Market conditions, economy, bad management and club ownership can change, thus hindering our income and possibly our job. I experienced a large private owned club sitiuation two years ago when our flat rate independent contractor personal training fees rose from $300 per month to $1200 per month without any internal changes within the club ie: new equipment, new retentive members, advertising etc.
This situation would’nt have changed even if we were unionized…we would simply have been replaced or the club would cease all independent contractors and switch to in house trainers as employees with percentages. Needless to say..all twelve of us seeked employment elsewhere and the club switched to in house trainers/employees, unfortunately reducing the clubs personal training income fees from $172,800 per year to zero. We are still scratching our heads today from their business decision…
Being a future gym owner, I would not want my employees and Personal Trainers to be unionized. I simply would have Personal Trainers as independent contractors. This give them more freedom to co-market themselves to their full potential, budget their expenses and set their schedule and treat it like a small business.
Wish you the Best!
Personal training in a club, even as a union job, is not set up to be well-paying. A few problems:
– an individual trainer can serve only one client at a time, and the market will not bear $100 per hour training – at least not for the person you can hire at the club, as opposed to a premium trainer that would come to your home or train you alone.
– even those professionals who earn $100 per hour typically do not rely entirely on client appointments for their income. They teach, speak, write, consult, sell some sort of value-added package, or use lower-paid subordinates to scale the work.
– the things that go with union jobs would lower the wages in a way that the employment market would totally change. A $40 per session, flexible job that might be a sideline to something else (like an art career) or supplemented by something else (like working a half-time job with benefits someplace and seeing clients) is more attractive to many people than a $10 per hour, full-time union job with benefits.
The money is just not there for training in a club to be a very high paying occupation.
I just finished a paper on “collective bargaining” here is the first apargraph
Collective bargaining can both serve the employee’s interests and impart injustice. It may guard against infringement of individual rights by providing a supportive mechanism to voice disagreements, and preserve fairness. In this regard, collective bargaining may be similar to class action in its ability to even out the power distribution. Yet, collective bargaining binds the individual to the rules of the majority, eliminating the option of judicial review, and to being hear as a singular voice. It may polarize employees and managers, and dismiss compensation for high performance, while at the same time rewarding the undeserving. Having experienced union protection, I must admit it was a comforting freedom. My rights to a fair salary and healthcare compensation were well protected, and I felt that my livelihood was guaranteed as long as I followed the clearly understood rules of play. There are pros and cons to collective bargaining; acceptance, all depends on which side of the fence you stand.