A union is you and your co-workers coming together as a team to make improvements at your workplace.
Union members work together to negotiate and enforce a contract with management that guarantees the things you care about like decent raises, affordable health care, safer workplaces, job security and a stable schedule.
There is a union for every type of career. There are unions for NFL players, lobstermen and sitcom actors, and many other professions. No matter what profession you are in, you deserve to make ends meet, have a good life and plan for the future.
Here are some of the ways you benefit from forming or joining a union:
Better Wages and Benefits
Decent raises, predictable schedules and family-friendly policies don’t just happen without working people coming together and advocating for better workplaces.
When people negotiate together, they gain better wages and benefits.
Working people in unions make improvements at the workplace, and they fight to improve the rights of all people. Union members helped create workplace health and safety standards, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Family Medical Leave Act, increases to minimum wage, workers’ compensation and lots of the other laws you rely on.
The Union Difference Is Clear
People in a union participating in job-provided health insurance: 75%
People without a union participating in job-provided health insurance: 48%
People in a union participating in guaranteed (defined-benefit) pension plans: 70%
People without a union participating in guaranteed (defined-benefit) pension plans: 13%
Paid Sick Leave
People in a union with paid sick leave: 91%
People without a union with paid sick leave: 73%
Median Weekly Earnings
People with a union median weekly earnings: $1,095
People without a union median weekly earnings: $892
Black Working People
Black working people in a union median weekly earnings: $905
Black working people without a union median weekly earnings: $711
Latino Working People
Latino working people with a union median weekly earnings: $954
Latino working people without a union median weekly earnings: $686
Collective Bargaining Is the Best Way to Raise Wages
Collective bargaining is the process in which you and your coworkers come together through your unions and negotiate contracts with your employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family and more. Negotiating together is a way to solve workplace problems.
Common things that are collectively bargained include things like:
- Pay equity
- Leave (vacation, parental, sick)
- Workplace health and safety standards
- Project Labor Agreements
Union Jobs Help Achieve Work-Life Balance
You deserve to make more than just a decent living, you deserve a decent life.
Everyone knows—family comes first. Whether it’s being able send your kids off for their first day of school, or caring for an elderly parent who is ill, being there and providing for family isn’t negotiable.
There’s more to life than work. Which is why people join unions to negotiate together for work-life balance. Union members speak up together to make life better through:
- Consistent schedules and no mandatory overtime.
- Flexible schedules, like a four day work week or working from home.
- Time off to take care of family or attend school events.
- Paid vacation you can actually take without feeling guilty or overwhelmed when you return.
- Longer maternity leave and paternity leave, with staffing to back-fill your position while you’re out.
- Student loan repayment and scholarships.
- Job training programs for career mobility.
- Reimbursements for fitness club memberships, yoga, and other wellness benefits.
- Wages and benefits that keep up with the cost of living.
- Family-friendly work environments.
A voice on the job is priceless. You deserve respect and recognition for the hard work you do.
If you don’t have a union at your workplace, learn more about how you can form a union and take a first step toward better wages and benefit, and a better life.
Resources for Union Activists