President, John F. Kennedy said, “Those who would destroy or further limit the rights of
organized labor – those who would cripple collective bargaining or prevent organization of the
unorganized – do a disservice to the cause of democracy.”
What Have Unions Done for Us?
8-hour day 5-day work week
Health insurance & good pensions
Higher wages with job security
Overtime pay with job safety
Family and medical leave
Fair treatment for women, people of color, and those with disabilities
Union members earn 28% more than non-union workers. Strong unions raise living standards and
improve the quality of life for everyone. In the 10 states in which unions are the strongest, there is less
poverty, higher household income, more education spending, and better public policy than in the 10
states where unions are weakest.
According to Human Rights Watch, the treatment of workers by employers and the failure of the
US government to prevent it constitute a serious violation of human rights. Their report says, “Many
workers…are spied on, harassed, pressured, threatened, suspended, fired, deported or otherwise
victimized in reprisal for their exercise of the right to choose a union.”
The consequences have been devastation for all of American society. When collective bargaining is
suppressed, wages lag, inequality and poverty grow, race and gender pay gaps widen, society’s safety
net is strained and civic and political participation are undermined.
If where you work now does not have union representation, here are ten reasons why you need a union
Stability and Security: in this volatile economy, you may not know where your next job will be.
As a skilled union member, your pay, benefits and working conditions are guaranteed; you carry
them with you from job to job.
Health Insurance: employer provided by contract with low deductibles and co-pays and your
coverage follows you from job to job.
Retirement Security: collectively bargained pensions you can count on. You accrue benefits on
every job and the average union pension plan is worth twice as much as a non-union plan.
Access to the Best Jobs: you can work on high paying union construction jobs all over town and
in other cities and states.
Reduced Safety Hazards: you’ll get more safety training and have avenues to address problems
and access to proper equipment.
Training and Advancement: training is provided FREE by union contract. You can upgrade your
skills and keep up with technological changes.
Respect and a Partnership at Work: union members have a partnership with employers and a
say in decisions on the job. Your views and skills are respected and you have what you need to
get the job done right – the first time.
The Same Set of Rules: union contracts emphasize equality and fair treatment. There is a
written set of rules that applies to everyone on every job.
Help Build a Stronger Community: when you replace lower wage or temporary jobs with good
union jobs, you boost local economies, lift living standards, strengthen the tax base and, in
general, add to community development.
MAKE A LOT MORE MONEY: while wage rates vary, union construction workers on average
make 41% more than non-union workers. And a fair but higher wage may mean less overtime
and more time with family and friends.