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The Union Advantage

If you don’t have a union in your workplace, you don’t have guaranteed wages, health benefits or a secure pension. You are an “at-will” employee. You check your rights at the door, and your employer can fire you or change your conditions of employment at any time and for almost any reason.

There are real advantages to having a union for you as an individual and for society in general. By forming a union with your co-workers, together you will have the strength to negotiate a legally binding contract with your employer that includes better wages, affordable health care, a secure retirement and a safer workplace. Consider:

Better wages: Wages of union members are, on average, 27 percent higher than those of nonunion workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. In 2004, union workers were paid $781 a week, but nonunion workers only got paid $612 a week. While all union workers are better off than nonunion workers, women and minorities are especially so:

  • Women in unions earn an extra $170 a week – $9,000 more a year.
  • African Americans in unions earn an extra $150 a week – $8,000 more a year.
  • Latinos in unions earn an extra $225 a week – $11,650 more a year.

Better health care: 81 percent of union workers have job-related health coverage, while only 50 percent of non-union workers do. Union families pay 43 percent less for family coverage than nonunion families – that’s a savings of $1,000 a year.

Better pensions: 72 percent of union workers have a guaranteed, defined benefit pension, compared to only 15 percent of nonunion workers.

And the more union members there are in this country, the better off everyone is. Throughout our history, when unions are strong, wages go up, health care coverage improves and pensions are strengthened. When unions are under attack, as they are today, we are all in danger—our jobs, our communities and our families.

If you would like to form a union in your workplace, or you know someone who wants one in theirs, contact UFCW Local 367: 253-589-0367, or outside Pierce County at 1-800-562-3645.

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