What Do You Have To Gain From Being A Union Member?
SOME POINTS ABOUT UNIONS AND HOW IT BENEFITS TO YOU
It’s sheer nonsense to say that a union insists on telling an employer how to run their business. Of course unions want employers to be competitive and profitable because that’s to everybody’s advantage. But unions do have a legitimate function: to represent workers on such vital issues as their wages, benefits, and conditions of employment, and insuring that they have a safe and healthy workplace. Union officials don’t dictate, they negotiate. In a fundamental sense, you and your coworkers are the union.
HOW UNIONS HELP YOU AND YOUR FAMILY-
Let’s begin by talking money. Here’s a solid fact that you may not be aware of: Union members earn considerably more money than workers who don’t belong to unions – for dong the same kind of work. The extra cash that comes from a union negotiated contract is surely welcome to the average family that has difficulty enough trying to keep up with the grocery and utility bills, meeting mortgage payments on the house or the installments on the car or a major appliance and paying for the children’s education.
A union provides a family with more than additional income. Union members enjoy longer paid vacations and more holidays, allowing them quality time to spend with loved ones. They are covered by health and medical plans, which protect them against huge hospital and doctors bills in case of serious illness.
What is especially important about these valuable benefits is that they belong to each union member as a legal right that is spelled out in a written contract signed by both the employer and the union. By contrast, the fewer benefits that non-union workers receive from a company can be taken away from them at any time by the unilateral decision of management. And there is nothing they can do about it, except to quit and find another job, where they might be subject to the same unfair treatment. It’s a fact of like that many workers learn the hard way: without a union, you are powerless.
UNIONS PUSH TO PROTECT YOUR SAFETY ON THE JOB-
A major concern of the unions is the protection of the health and safety of their members in the workplace. In 1970, through their efforts and over opposition of employers, they pressured Congress to enact the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and ever since, they’ve lobbied to make the nation’s work sites healthier and safer. You are obviously better off when you have a union to defend you against hazardous working conditions than if you have to depend on the employer whose prime concern is to keep labor and operating cost to a minimum.
A standard union contract also contains provisions to protect employees against various types of unjustified behavior on the part of the employer. It provides for a grievance process that takes up any complaint they may have against management, whether it is a supervisor’s abusive language, unsafe working conditions, favoritism, racist and sexist discrimination, unwarranted disciplinary actions or firings. The seniority clause of the contract cuts down on favoritism and reduces discrimination. Under a seniority system, the years you’ve toiled for the company have some value. All extra work is made available in seniority order to employees. Vacations and time off adhere to seniority.
The money is used to cover the substantial expense of operating a headquarters, paying staff, conducting legislative and organizing activities and servicing the members. Your dues help build a stronger union that can work more effectively on your behalf, especially at contract time. You’re accustom to buying car insurance, fire insurance and health insurance. It’s an expense, but well worth the protection and peace of mind it gives you. Your dues money is job insurance: you get a negotiated contract which makes it illegal for your employer to undercut your wages, benefits and working conditions.
Interested in talking to someone about organizing your workplace? All communications will be treated with confidentiality and there are no obligations. So please contact Local 81 by phone at (503) 251-2381 or contact us via e-mail.
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