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A guild in Urcea is an association of every firm within an industry which represents the interests of both capital and labor. The guild is designed to ensure a level "playing field" for firms, both extant and newcomers, and also designed to eliminate class antipathy by mutual cooperation between firms and workers. Labor and management are both represented equally within the guilds, and the guilds have binding authority to self-regulate within their respective industry. There are forty such guilds. The guilds are the constituent parts of the Gildertach, the upper chamber of Urcea's legislature.
By law, every firm within an industry must join its associated guild. The definitions of industries, and the types of firms and businesses that go into an industry are determined by the guild law, which can only be changed and amended by the Gildertach. Some firms provide multiple purposes and services; in that case, the Ministry of Commerce will often allow the firm's owners to choose which guild they are a member of. Each of the workers associated with the firms within a guild must be represented in some way. The most common way for worker representation within guilds is by labor unions, which are organized especially for the purpose of bloc representation of labor interests within the guild system. Not all workers within a guild are members of labor unions, and these workers are joined in blocs known as "free labor"; free labor bloc members are typically workers for small businesses.
Guilds are responsible for self-regulation of the industry which comprises them. The extent of these regulations is determined by the guild law, but it broadly includes powers such as that of determining working conditions within the industry, setting the industry-wide minimum wage, the rarely-used authority to adjust minimum and maximum prices on goods based on region, and other similar powers. The individual guilds are also responsible for settling disputes between firms and working with the Ministry of Commerce to enforce its binding decisions. Many guilds maintain their own benefit institutions, charging guild dues to firms and laborers in order to pay for guild-wide pensions and other related benefits. A handful of guilds are large enough that they have the ability to self-insure, and guild self-insurers are one of the largest sources of private health insurance in Urcea.
Industries defined by the Guild Law
• Oil & Gas Producers
• Oil Equipment, Services & Distribution
• Alternative Energy
• Forestry & Paper
• Industrial Metals
• Construction & Materials
• Aerospace & Defense
• General Industrials
• Electronic & Electrical Equipment
• Industrial Engineering
• Industrial Transportation
• Support Services
• Automobiles & Parts
• Agricultural and Food Producers
• Household Goods & Home Construction
• Leisure Goods
• Personal Goods
• Health Care Equipment & Services
• Pharmaceuticals & Biotechnology
• Food & Drug Retailers
• General Retailers
• Travel & Leisure
• Fixed Line Telecommunications
• Mobile Telecommunications
• Gas, Water & Multiutilities
• Nonlife Insurance
• Life Insurance
• Real Estate Investment, Services & Trusts
• Financial Services
• Investment Instruments
• Software & Computer Services
• Technology Hardware & Equipment
• Public Administration