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June 25, 2017
What you should know about Unions

Why You Need a Union

Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 30 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts. While only 14 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 68 percent of union workers do. More than 97 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 85 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.

Many people don't know a lot about Labor Unions.  This section of the Local 70 IUOE website will be useful in gathering information on the value and place of Unions in United States today.

As you learn and have additional information you would like to have or if you would like to meet with representatives of Local 70, please feel free to call us at 651-646-4566 or by emailing us at:

Local70@iuoe70.org

 


Jan 29, 2009

Many of us started right where you are.

"I was afraid and without a voice, looking for security and recognition.  I knew my boss could and would replace me at any moment  with or without justification because like all unorganized employees, I was an "at will employee" - his will. One of the most fearful things I ever did was contact the Union and ask for help.  I was afraid someone would see me talking with them.

Today I am so grateful for standing up for myself and my co-workers.  Through organizing we found  a community of fellow workers and a voice for justice and decency.  Today, I am not afraid and through my Union - I have a voice." 

Here's the reality of being represented

Working people in all walks of life join together in unions to gain a voice at work. Union members have a say about pay, benefits, working conditions and how their jobs get done—and having that say gives them a union advantage.

Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who are not union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 30 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts. While only 14 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 68 percent of union workers do. More than 97 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 85 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.

Many people don't know a lot about Labor Unions.  This section of the Local 70 IUOE website will be useful in gathering information on the value and place of Unions in United States today.

If you do not have a union at your job, find out more about how to form one. Today, more people are taking the step to form unions on the job than at any time in recent history. You can be one of them!

As you learn and have additional information you would like to have or if you would like to meet with representatives of Local 70, please feel free to call us at 651-646-4566 or by emailing us at:

Local70@iuoe70.org

 

 

 


Jan 29, 2009

 

THE LABOR MOVEMENT AND UNIONS.  WHAT DO WE DO AND WHY DO WE DO IT?
 
What is the Labor Movement?
 
Labor unions are groups of workers organizing and taking collective action to improve their lives. The labor movement is all unions, union members and union organizations acting collectively.
There are approximately 15 million workers in unions and employee associations in the United States and approximately 4.5 million union workers in Canada. 
 
What do Unions Do?
 
Unions are the principal means for workers to organize and protect their rights on the job. The union contract or “collective bargaining agreement” establishes the basic terms and conditions of work.  Unions give workers a voice with employers and provide a means to gain a measure of security and dignity on the job. Most unions maintain a paid professional staff to manage their activities. 
Unions pursue strategies and activities that serve the interests of their members. These include representing members and negotiating with employers, recruiting new members and engaging in political action when necessary to support policies that improve working conditions for all workers. 
 
What is Collective Bargaining?
 
The simple phrase, collective bargaining, covers a wide variety of subjects and involves hundreds of thousands of union members in the process. 
 
Representatives of labor and management negotiate over wages and benefits, hours and working conditions.  The settlement reached is spelled out in a written document or contract.  The contract normally contains a grievance procedure to settle disputes.  It is the job of the union to enforce the contract on behalf of the members.
 
It has not been easy to establish collective bargaining as a permanent part of American life.  The efforts of unions to establish the concept of collective bargaining are a little known, but very important part of American history, involving great sacrifice and bitter struggle.  Historically, management took the position that because they owned the means of production, they had the sole right to determine the conditions of employment.  Collective bargaining forms the cornerstone of industrial democracy. 
 
 Why are Unions Important?
 
Workers formed unions so that they could have some say over wages, hours, working conditions, and the many other problems that arise in the relationship between a worker and employer.  Unions are important because they help set the standards for education, skill levels, wages, working conditions, and quality of life for workers. Union-negotiated wages and benefits are generally superior to what non-union workers receive. 
 
Most union contracts provide far more protections than state and federal laws. For example, in many states there is no legal right for workers to take a break. More importantly, most states follow a legal doctrine called “employment at will” and non-union workers can be fired for reasons that might be arbitrary or for no reason at all.
 
Unions also work to establish laws improving job conditions for their members through legislation at the national, state and local level.  This ultimately benefits all workers.  The 8-hour work day is an example of a positive change won by unions that affects everyone.

Are Unions Still Important to Working People Today?  
                                                   
Unions are more important today than they ever were. It is no secret that in a global economy, the nature of work is changing and some employers resist unions. Research consistently shows that far more workers would join unions if anti-union campaigns weren’t so common. Misinformation and intimidation – including firing union supporters – are routine responses when workers try to form unions.

Workers have less power when they act individually, but acting together as a group they can effect real change.  Unions are the collective voice of workers. Unions are the workers’ watchdogs, using their power to ensure that workers rights under the law are protected.

In addition to ensuring fairness and equitable treatment, many employers recognize that there are advantages to offering workers better wages and benefits. Companies concerned about long-term profitability want to maintain a supply of skilled labor and minimize turnover. The basic reason for this is simple: if unions provide a voice to workers, the number of dissatisfied workers who leave is reduced. Another valuable function of an organized workforce is that workers are able to contribute their knowledge about the job, which helps increase productivity.
 
Why Join a Labor Union?
 
As a worker, you have a federally guaranteed right to form or join a union, and bargain collectively with your employer.  Business agents and/or stewards are the representatives of the union who help workers deal with unfair treatment, discrimination and with other workplace issues.  This helps balance the power that an employer has over individual employees.
 
Belonging to a union gives you rights under the law that you do not have as an individual.  Once you have formed a union, your employer must bargain with your union over your wages, benefits, hours and working conditions. 
 
Union workers, on average, earn higher wages and get more benefits than workers who don’t have a voice on the job with a union.

Jan 29, 2009

Jan 29, 2009

Jan 29, 2009

Mar 19, 2009

For any people to be able to exercise their rights effectively, they must have certain preconditions—a job, physical safety, education, adequate housing and medical care. Without those preconditions, those formal rights are a dead letter. They can’t be exercised. Labor unions have done more to provide those conditions for African Americans than any other social institution in the United States.

According to John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a higher percentage of African American workers (16.2 percent) belong to unions than the rest of the population (13.5 percent) for good reason. Unions serve the African American community well. It is true that unions, like the rest of American society, delayed opening their doors to African Americans for too long, but enormous progress has been made since it happened.
 
Union membership benefits both male and female African Americans. Black men earn more if they are in a union ($18.15 per hour) as opposed to only $13.50 for nonunion men. Unionized African American men are more likely to have health insurance (76.7 percent) than nonunion black men (65 percent). The same holds true for health insurance and pension coverage.
 
Black women in unions earn more ($17.20 an hour) than nonunion black women ($12.00),and are much more likely to have health care coverage and a pension.
 
For African American workers, the union advantage with respect to health insurance and pension coverage remains large, even after considering differences in workers’ characteristics. Unionized African American workers are about 16 percentage points more likely to have health insurance and about 19 percentage points more likely to have a pension than nonunion workers.
 
Even in low wage occupations, African Americans in unions earn more than nonunion African American workers in the same occupations and are more likely to have health insurance and a pension plan.
But African American workers also benefit the union movement. Dr. Everett Freeman, president of Albany State University in Albany, Ga., concluded in a study of blacks in leadership positions that there are more African Americans in leadership positions in labor unions than in any other social institution in America, except the black church.
 
That’s why the Employee Free Choice Act is important for African American workers. Union membership has been a passageway to the middle class for generations of African American workers. But the recession of the past decade has caused a depression in the black community. According to a 2007 study, 55 percent of the union jobs lost in 2004 were held by black workers, and African American women accounted for 70 percent of the union jobs lost by women in 2004.
 
Between 1983 and 2006, the percentage of African Americans represented by unions fell from 31.7 percent of all black workers to 16 percent, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Yet, African Americans still are among the most likely to join unions. If the freedom to join unions is increased, African Americans, like many other struggling American workers, will be able to increase their union membership and make even greater economic strides in the future
 
Edgar Moore is an instructor at the University of Nebraska—Omaha’s William Brennan Institute for Labor Studies.

Jan 29, 2009



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