Union members know that collective bargaining power means better health and retirement benefits, more secure jobs, bigger paychecks and a brighter future for their families. Here are some facts that prove the difference unions make:
Union pay is higher for nearly all types of work
— Union workers earn 28 percent more than nonunion workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2004, that meant $781 in median weekly earnings for full-time work, compared with $612 for nonunion workers. A breakdown shows union workers earn more in almost all job categories. Unionized technical workers earn $938 per week, compared to $841 for non-union workers; administrative/clerical workers earn $676, compared to $519 per week for nonunion workers.
For the transportation industry, you will find that union workers average $695, compared to $491 for nonunion workers.
Union wages are higher for minorities and women — Union women earn 34 percent more than nonunion women; African American union members earn 29 percent more than their nonunion counterparts; for Latino workers, the union advantage is 59 percent.
Union workers have better benefits — Union workers are more likely to receive health care benefits, according to the U.S. Labor Department. In 2004, 89 percent of union workers in medium and large establishments had medical care benefits—compared with 67 percent of nonunion workers. And organized workers are more likely to have retirement and short-term disability benefits. In fact, 67 percent of unionists have defined-benefit coverage plans, which are federally insured with a guaranteed monthly payment, compared with just 36 percent of nonunion workers.
Incomes are higher in free states
— Right-to-work laws are a bad deal for workers because they hinder their ability to exercise collective bargaining rights and lower the average pay for everyone at the worksite. These restrictions result in lower union density: the percentage of workers who belong to unions is 7.4 percent in right-to-work (for less) states, compared with 15.6 percent in free states.
This is a clear bread-and-butter issue. In 2002, the average annual pay in free states was $36,205, while in right-to-work (for less) states, it was $30,915 — a 17 percent difference.
Unions increase productivity — Recent studies indicate that unions increase productivity. The voice that union members have on the job—which helps them share in decision making about promotions and work and production standards—increases productivity and improves management practices. Better training, lower turnover and longer tenure also make union workers more productive.
Union workers have greater job stability
— Fifty percent of union workers have been with their current employers for at least 10 years, but only 22 percent of nonunion workers can make the same claim. Union workers have greater job stability, in part because they’re more satisfied with their jobs, get better pay and benefits and have access to fair grievance procedures. More important, most collectively-bargained agreements protect workers from unjust discharge. Nonunion workers are “employees at will” who can be fired at any time for any reason — or no reason at all.
Because collective bargaining emphasizes equal pay and fair treatment — union membership narrows the historic gap in pay and opportunities between women and men, and between minorities and whites. That’s why union membership can be particularly important for women, African American, Asian American and Latino workers who face ongoing discrimination.
Workers of all ages belong to unions — Union membership is highest among 45-54 year olds, 31 percent of whom are organized. Almost one million union members are younger than 25.
If you think that TCU can help you build a better life for yourself and your family through higher wages, improved benefits and a measure of job security, then click here for a direct link to a TCU Organizer. One of our Union’s representatives will be glad to talk with you and help you step up to a more secure future.
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