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?
I have really been stewing over this question for a while, trying to decide how I feel about it.
You certainly have a point. None of the gyms in our area (that I know of) are allowing independent trainers. If you want to work there, you have to be an employee and thus subject to the rules the gym imposes. Since they usually also ask a trainer to sign a non-compete clause, it chains the trainer to the gym and makes it difficult for him or her to become independent. Many of those gyms under-pay and/or ask that the trainer work shifts at very minimal pay. Benefits are usually not paid because it is a part-time position. This leads to a high turn-over and, I believe, also degrades the position of a personal trainer.
I would love to see an improvement there but I am not sure whether unionization is the answer. On the other hand, in the absence of government regulation, this may be the only alternative to improve the situation.
I have seen some gyms where such abuse did not exist. I have an association with a wellness center which is part of a large hospital, and the situation is fundamentally different. But I have also seen the other side, and it is not pretty.
I thank you for your question, Philip. Food for thought …..