The Union Advantage

Unions guarantee rewards for hard work and initiative.

  • Workers with unions earn an average 25 percent more than do workers without a union.
  • Seventy-three percent of union members in the private industry get health benefits on the job, compared with about half of workers without unions.
  • Seventy percent of union members in medium and large private companies are covered by pensions that guarantee a benefit, compared with only 16 percent of workers without a union.

Unions help remedy discrimination in the workplace.

  • Union contracts raise earnings by 30 percent for working women and African Americans and 45 percent for Latinos.
  • Union contracts help make sure that everyone is treated fairly and equally on the job.

Unions raise living standards for the whole community.

  • For decades, union membership paved the way to a strong and growing middle class. As union membership declined, the gap between the wealthy and everyone else grew.
  • Better wages and benefits through unions mean that more families can make it on their own in the community – and the wage and benefit floor is lifted for everyone.
  • Studies show that states where many of the workers have a union are also states with lower poverty rates, better schools and less crime.


Union Non-Union
Contract A legal document that defines hours of work, wages and other conditions of employment; establishes procedures for the resolution of disputes No contract. Rules and policies may be changed at any time with no employee input.
Wages Union wages are negotiated with the Company and are guaranteed and spelled out in your contract. The Company sets wages, pay scales and raises often resulting in arbitrary and unfair compensation.
Seniority Used to determine, among other things, placement on wage schedule, layoff procedure, vacation and holiday scheduling, overtime assignments, job bidding, shift scheduling. At the Company’s discretion whether or not to use seniority. No guarantees.
Discipline For just cause only, following progressive discipline. “At will” employment – anyone can be fired at any time for any reason.
Grievances A contract provides a structured procedure for handling disputes in the workplace (things that are in violation of that contract). The Company says it has an “open door” policy to discuss issues, but the company decides whether or not to deal with grievances and has the last say.
Health and Welfare/Pensions Benefits are negotiated by the union. Not required under law. At the Company’s option.
Vacations Paid vacation negotiated according to length of service. Vacations given, paid or unpaid, at the company’s discretion.
Leaves of Absence Negotiated leaves, which go beyond what the laws provide, with return to work guarantees. The Company must grant only those leaves mandated by law and only under strict guidelines.
Layoffs Protected by seniority. No protection.
Dues Small portion of entire wages and benefits paid to union for having representation. No dues = no rights!