Union members have consistently earned more than non-union members. Union members also tend to receive more regular raises than non-union members.
Union members have employer-provided health insurance and likely receive better coverage than those offered to non-union members.
A secure retirement is one of the main reasons people join a union. Workers want to be able to retire without financial worries after decades of hard work. A secure retirement is a prized benefit for union members.
Employees shouldn’t have to choose between a paycheck and our health or that of our loved ones. That’s why paid leave is one of the great benefits of being a union member.
While non-union members are subject to the whims of their managers, union members are protected by a union contract that ensures fair treatment for everyone and there are procedures and protections for filing complaints or disciplinary actions.
Having a union also allows employees to report health and safety hazards without fear of retaliation from the employer.
Unionized workers tend to have more flexibility than non-union members when it comes to work schedules. Unionized workers are less likely to be forced to work overtime without adequate pay.
Non-union members can get fired for any or no reason. If you are a union member, your manager must have just cause to discipline or fire you, and there is a procedure in place to make sure all parties are treated fairly.
According to a recent study , the benefits of being a union member go well beyond decent wages and retirement security. The authors found that “union members are more satisfied with their lives than those who are not members and that the substantive effect of union membership on life satisfaction is large and rivals other common predictors of quality of life.” In other words, unions boost the overall quality of life for their members.
Unions are the principal means for workers to organize and protect their rights on the job. The union contract or “collective bargaining agreement” establishes the basic terms and conditions of work. Unions give workers a voice with employers and provide a means to gain a measure of security and dignity on the job. Most unions maintain a paid professional staff to manage their activities. Unions pursue strategies and activities that serve the interests of their members. These include representing members and negotiating with employers, recruiting new members and engaging in political action when necessary to support policies that improve working conditions for all workers.
The simple phrase, collective bargaining, covers a wide variety of subjects and involves thousands of union members in the process. Representatives of labor and management negotiate over wages and benefits, hours and working conditions. The settlement reached is spelled out in a written document or contract. The contract normally contains a grievance procedure to settle disputes. It is the job of the union to enforce the contract on behalf of the members.
Workers formed unions so that they could have some say over wages, hours, working conditions, and the many other problems that arise in the relationship between a worker and employer. Unions are important because they help set the standards for education, skill levels, wages, working conditions, and quality of life for workers. Union-negotiated wages and benefits are generally superior to what non-union workers receive. Most union contracts provide far more protections than state and federal laws. For example, in many states there is no legal right for workers to take a break. More importantly, most states follow a legal doctrine called “employment at will” and non-union workers can be fired for reasons that might be arbitrary or for no reason at all.
As a worker, you have a federally guaranteed right to form or join a union, and bargain collectively with your employer. Business agents and/or stewards are the representatives of the union who help workers deal with unfair treatment, discrimination and with other workplace issues. This helps balance the power that an employer has over individual employees. Belonging to a union gives you rights under the law that you do not have as an individual. Once you have formed a union, your employer must bargain with your union over your wages, benefits, hours and working conditions. Union workers, on average, earn higher wages and get more benefits than workers who don’t have a voice on the job with a union.