You may be surprised that the yoga industry does not have a union or an official organization to protect instructor rights. Yoga has become increasingly popular in the USA. Nearly 40 million people practice yoga, and this industry is worth over $16 billion a year. Yoga instructors realize they’re not getting their fair share of the yoga pie. They hope a union will allow them to bargain collectively for better wages and benefits.
Yoga teachers form a union
Over a thousand yoga instructors, most of whom are employed by the YogaWorks chain, began to organize and unionize this year. This news has shaken the yoga community, as it is the first in industry history. Teachers are taking a stand against the long-standing neglect of working conditions for yoga instructors. Yoga teachers complain about poor working conditions, unfair treatment, and low wages.
Yoga teachers are often forced to work more hours than paid. YogaWorks employees have noticed that many yoga instructors in New York City, and other cities, earn less than the poverty level. This is very troubling for yoga instructors and those who study yoga.
Teachers are expected to create playlists for their classes, post them on social media, attend advanced training, arrive early to class, and remain after the class to answer questions from students. The rate of pay is well below the American minimum wage. It has caused instructors to form groups and demand higher salaries so they can live a decent life while working. Many instructors said they could not work in this industry if they weren’t financially stable. This is unacceptable.
Markella Los was recently interviewed by NPR. She noted that the “lack of job security is one of the biggest problems we face as YogaWorks teachers and in the entire industry.” As at-will employees, we can be fired without notice and severance. There are also no benefits. We don’t get any benefits, even though the job is physically and mentally challenging.
Over 100 YogaWorks members asked the company to recognize a union within the yoga teaching industry this month. The campaign leaders say unionization is important for all yoga instructors, not just those in New York City. Instructors leading the campaign highlight that health insurance is difficult to obtain under current conditions, as well as low wages.
What impact will unions have on the yoga industry
The creation of a yoga union will shake the industry. The situation has become so heated many yoga instructors are afraid to speak publicly for fear of possible retribution. The instructors hope the union will keep their pay levels at a living rate, but it will have a far wider impact.
The cost of yoga classes may increase if the instructors’ wages are increased as a result. It is not necessarily bad for yoga students. If they are required to pay for classes they already value, students will value them even more. Better pay and work conditions will encourage yoga teachers to become the best at what they do. Yoga is a huge industry in the USA. However, a union for yoga teachers could limit the market’s growth.
These teachers’ actions have a wide-ranging impact on the American yoga industry. This includes the companies, the students, and even the teachers. Yoga teachers create a platform through unionizing to voice their concerns and voices. They can talk to each other and vote on the issues that affect them. They can use the collective bargaining of a union to help ensure that they get fair wages and better working conditions.