Our Union was founded 100 years ago when a group of 33 railway clerks in Sedalia, Missouri, banded together in their common struggle for human dignity on the job. Today our ranks have grown to include about 100,000 members in the U.S. — men and women from many different crafts who came from one of the eight Unions that merged to become today’s TCU. But our Union still runs on the same principles of democracy and full membership participation that took root at the turn of the 20th century.

Our members are employed in a wide variety of jobs. We work as clerks, carmen, auto technicians, computer programmers, skycaps and redcaps, on-board service workers, secretaries, supervisors, truck drivers, accountants, yardmasters, intermodal workers, police officers, government workers, reservation agents, transit workers, and more. TCU members work in every state in the U.S.

Benefits of Being a Union Member

If you want to learn more about TCU and the solid gains to be achieved through TCU membership, click here.

Union members already 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 union difference.

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 2000, that meant $696 in median weekly earnings for full-time work, compared with $542 for nonunion workers.

A breakdown in 2000 shows union workers earn more in almost all job categories. Unionized-technical workers earn $748 per week, compared to $635; administrative/clerical workers earn $586, compared to $453 per week for nonunion.

Turning to the transportation industry, you will find that union workers average $694, compared to $502 for nonunion workers.

Union wages are higher for minorities and women—Union women earn 31 percent more than nonunion women; African American union members earn 37 percent more than their nonunion counterparts; for Latino workers, the union advantage is 55 percent.

Union workers have better benefits—Union workers are more likely to receive health care benefits, according to the U. S. Labor Department. In 1997, 86 percent of union workers in medium and large establishments had medical care benefits—compared with 74 percent of nonunion workers.

And organized workers are also more likely to have retirement and short-term disability benefits. In fact, 79 percent of unionists have defined-benefit coverage plans, which are federally insured with a guaranteed monthly payment, compared with just 42 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 8.9 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 1999, the average annual pay in free states was $33,104, and in right-to-work (for less) states, it was $28,035—an 18 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—In 1998, 48% of union workers were 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 35-to 54-year olds, 30 percent of whom are organized. In addition, more than 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 further and help you step up to a more secure future.

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