The Union Advantage

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A Union For Everyone

When you go to work, what do you look for in your job? Like most workers, your list probably includes a decent wage, health insurance, job security and a voice on the job to help solve workplace problems. And as experience has shown, the best way to win these improvements is by forming a union.

Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 28 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts. While only 15 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 69 percent of union workers do. Four out of five union workers get health insurance benefits, but only half of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.

Union workers earn 29 percent more than nonunion workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary work were $801 in 2005, compared with $622 for their nonunion counterparts.

Union workers are more likely than their nonunion counterparts to receive health care and pension benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2005, 92 percent of union workers in the private sector had jobs providing access to medical care benefits, compared with only 68 percent of nonunion workers. Union workers also are more likely to have retirement and short-term disability benefits.

88 percent of union workers are covered by pension plans versus 56 percent of nonunion workers. Seventy-three percent of union workers have access to defined-benefit pension plans, compared with 16 percent of nonunion workers. Defined-benefit plans are federally insured and provide a guaranteed monthly pension amount. They are better for workers than defined-contribution plans, in which the benefit amount depends on how well the underlying investments perform.