Union rules typically guarantee job security based on seniority, so a productive newer worker can be laid off while a less-productive worker with seniority stays. So despite the barriers, there really is every reason to get involved in your union -- and you should. In some cases, what the union bargains for collectively may not be in your best interest. Why unionize?While workers in Ontario have minimum rights under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), a union collective agreement builds on those rights, adds additional rights and, just as important, gives you a means to enforce them. Although managers may not be prohibited from joining trade unions, there are some preventative measures an employer can take to protect its rights should a … There are still eligibility … By this I mean that many unions are deeply resistant to change, and in some cases even reactionary. The thing to emphasize here is that we probably can have some influence in improving our unions, despite the many barriers we face. You'll also lose autonomy by joining, and you may suffer additional disadvantages. Membership types. In fact, some of the skills you gain through union involvement may be transferable to the workplace, and smart managers understand this. Union members are likely to have a more secure job with better maternity, paternity, sickness and pension benefits. Collective representation is a tricky thing—people who agree about wages and benefits may disagree about politics or other things that are more important to them than wages and benefits. Unless you're required to join, you gain little advantage by doing so. This is where the importance … In 2015, for example, union members earned about $200 a week more than those who don’t belong to a union, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At times, an employee joins a union under group pressure; if he does not, he often has a very difficult time at work. Join Unite and enjoy a whole range of benefits such as financial advice, funeral care and monetary rewards. Thanks for a big year. Here are five common objections I've heard union members raise when explaining why they don't stay involved: •   Union involvement is time-consuming. However, when the strike (or other critical event) is over, newly engaged members often drift away, and the union moves back to its steady state of die-hards-only. But we can make incremental improvements, if not to the outside world, then certainly to the internal structures of our unions. Whether you have $5 or $50,000 in your account, you have the same say as any other member in determining the direction of your credit union. … On average, union members get higher pay than non-members. Unions offer workers stability and job security. Union membership dues start at approximately $200 a year, and many unions charge more, according to Larry Keller of Bankrate.com. The chapter also charges an initiation fee ranging from $75 to $600, depending … Union membership dues start at approximately $200 a year, and many unions charge more, according to Larry Keller of Bankrate.com. When subscribing to a newsletter edition you'll also get early notice on Tyee events, news, promotions, partner messages and special initiatives. Patrick Parkes blogs at politicalsensei.wordpress.com. If you have concerns related to your privacy please contact us at info@thetyee.ca. TOP FIVE REASONS WHY PEOPLE JOIN A UNION. Greater Bargaining Power. Some unions may have restrictions on who can join. As an example, my union local has what you might call an old guard, focused largely on the past, and a new guard who formed because they got tired of new ideas being blocked. Find a union to join. As a union activist I've seen positive change happen -- of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back variety. 1. Myo Thant, a front-line worker in Seattle and a member of Council 28, is one of the first AFSCME members to receive the coronavirus vaccine. If for some reason you can't join a union but want to support your fellow working Americans and fight for good jobs and a just economy, learn how to join Working America. Your employer has the right to hire other workers during the strike, but you have no guarantee of being called back immediately afterward or of receiving back pay. The financial costs of union membership include dues and, in many cases, fees for joining. Trade unions use their collective muscle to bargain for better salaries, pensions, holidays, health insurance, sick pay, overtime and more. In healthy unions, leaders encourage new members to get involved, embrace open debate and new ideas, and are not obsessed with protecting their positions. What’s even more mind blowing is the amount of wrong … The chapter also charges an initiation fee ranging from $75 to $600, depending on your wage level. One of the most important decisions you will ever make as an actor is whether or not to join the SAG-AFTRA Union. E-mail addresses are only used for the purposes of Tyee-related correspondence or comment moderation. Safety. Now at first glance, this seems like the most viable option for any actor with experience and credits. Here are five common objections I’ve heard union members raise when explaining why they don’t stay involved: • Union involvement is time-consuming. But other unions -- perhaps most unions -- are cliquey and factional. In fact, you can be subject to a fine or other union discipline if you choose to work. That’s $9,600 more a year. Possibilities: 1. But one can always ration one's involvement by not getting involved in too many things at once, and many activists have managed to balance their lives this way. Not all adjuncts are the same. National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.: What If I Want to Work During a Strike? Union rules sometimes pit workers against each other, according to Fox News. •   To influence decisions, you need to be with the "in crowd." Read More December 21, 2020 Saunders blasts COVID relief package as ‘a slap in the face’ to … They believe the union will not or cannot represent their beliefs or interests. It’s illegal for an employer to disadvantage you because you are a union member. Some unions have a history of adversarial relations with employers. If you belong to a union, you lose the ability to negotiate pay or benefits for yourself. The answer depends on the health of one's union. So why do new activists fade away? Find his previous Tyee articles here. Unite offers a wide range of services to members, from representation in the workplace and free legal advice, to pensions advice and training courses. The only reason I'm in a union position is because of politics that had nothing to do with sense. 5 reasons why you should join a trade union: Trade unions give power to working people by enabling employees to speak with one voice to their employer. All information submitted to The Tyee is only available to employees or sub-contractors who are bound by agreement with The Tyee to keep the information private. Are unions ineffective and impossible to change? Some unions are worse than others, and it all depends on the personalities involved. Although union members typically enjoy higher wages, membership in a union has both monetary and nonmonetary costs. As a union member, you're not free to decide for yourself whether or not you want to strike. In the labour movement, employer attacks, the end of contract terms, and strikes are what we call "capacity building" events. Ten good reasons to join Unite. For example, membership in the Teamsters Local 853 costs between $17 and $85 per month as of 2015. This "wage premium" that accrues to an otherwise average worker who belongs to a union is estimated by a recent study to amount to a staggering $551,000 over a lifetime. But not all such groups are necessarily hostile to new people. And for graduate students in the US, student unions have a completely different meaning—they’re labor unions advocating for fair and equal pay and benefits for graduate student instructors. We saw it as incompatible with our role as teachers to benefit from the sale of armaments. But they won't go away if we don't get involved. Collective action cannot help me in any way. Yes, but would like to learn more about the vaccine(s) first. But after years of campaigning (yes, it did take years -- I estimate five years of the most organized phase of our campaign) and fine-tuning our strategy, we succeeded in changing the culture, to such an extent that "ethical investing" is now viewed as common sense among BCTF activists. The wages and benefits for my position are determined by the market, not by collective action. People who are unionized enjoy greater job satisfaction because unions allow employees to negotiate the rules and policies of the workplace with the employer. Do you need to be in the "in crowd?" It’s proven that workers who are trade union members earn more than non-unionized workers. This portion, the agency fee, pays for services such as negotiating contracts. Closed shops, where workers must join a union before being hired, are no longer legal, states the U.S. Small Business Administration. Although many union politicos are exemplary in their respect for fair play, I can confirm that negative campaigns and vicious tactical maneuvers are just as common in unions as they are in the larger political sphere. For example, supervisors may treat unionized workers more as underlings and less as partners, and workers may feel that their employers trust them less. First, of course, union members tend to enjoy higher wages and better benefits than the unorganized. Perhaps that's true on some level. To be sure, a small union local can't change the world -- so get over it. That will take cooperation from other public sector unions, which haven't come around to our way of thinking. How to Join A Union & Why Join - Member Services. •   Unions are ineffective and impossible to change. National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.: Right to Work States, National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, Inc.: Right to Work Frequently Asked Questions, National Labor Relations Board: 1947 Taft-Harley Substantive Provisions. This is too bad, because I would argue it's far more important for union members to be engaged between contract terms, doing outreach work that could possibly mitigate strikes. If there is a deal, they say, that they might support. Sadly, where unions should be providing a good example and an antidote to the irrationality and arbitrary power we find in the larger political system, sometimes they are merely a microcosm of that system. In the UK, students can join the National Union of Students, or NUS, which works to represent student issues at a national level. Join a strong union and make your voice heard. But these objections are nevertheless worth examining because, if there is some truth to them, it might lead us to solutions. But, more than students, it is those young people that are currently in full or part-time employment that are the most vulnerable to exploitation under the current government without the help of trade unions. Related Posts. When unions demand higher wages, employers with limited funds may have to cut staff to pay higher wages. However, you save the portion that goes for political costs by not joining. So why not reconsider an idea that probably made an awful lot of sense to your grandparents but has taken a bit of a battering in recent decades: joining a union. As a result, trade unions help working people to win a better deal at work. If your state doesn't have right-to-work laws, you can be required to pay a portion of the union dues even if you don't join the union, according to legal website NOLO. But, and that’s a huge but, it’s not always that black and white. Bankrate: The Pros and Cons of Union Jobs, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release: Union Members -- 2014, Fox News: Why Unions Are Harmful to Workers, Teamsters Local 853: Frequently Asked Questions, Forbes: 'Right-to-Work' Laws Explained, Debunked and Demystified, U.S. Small Business Administration: Unions -- Right-to-Work States vs. As a union activist, could you be the target of internal political attacks? 1. As a result, unionized workers often experience a less cooperative environment with employers than nonunion workers, reports the Bankrate.com article. The "one step back" here is that we still haven't divested weapons stocks from our pension. The most common reason why people want a union is because there is something that is unfair about their workplace. More than 84 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 64 percent of nonunion workers do. Given those realities, adjuncts have to decide the question of whether to join a union on an individual -- case by case, institution by institution -- basis. Why would someone not join a union? Let's take a look: Is union work time-consuming? Considering the four factors mentioned above that need to be considered when managers join a union, it is clear that there might be a conflict of interest when a manager joins a trade union, and even more so when the manager becomes a shop steward. Pensions, medical insurance, paid vacation, holidays, personal holidays, sick pay, overtime premiums, shift differential, etc, are generally not only better in a union shop, many of these goodies don’t even exist without a union contract. Whether or not they join the union or pay fees, by law nonmembers receive nearly all of the same contract benefits as union members, states Rick Ungar in a November 2012 Forbes article. From salary and benefits to protection against bad bosses, there are numerous ways organizing a union can make life better for you and your co-workers. And this point was made without even a hint of irony. The first step to joining a union is to locate your individual union and contact it for union facts and guidance on organizing; Get in touch with a union organizer. 6 reasons for joining a union People who aren't in a union or don't know anyone in a trade or labor union often unsure what labor unions do and why someone would join. We’ve got a global crisis or two — or three — on our hands. Monthly dues for the chapter generally are equivalent to your pay for two-and-one-half hours of work. These reasons may take the form of a need for a social outlet, Peer pressure, forced unionization, dissatisfaction with the management, opportunity for leadership etc. Which is a pretty good record, if you think about it. You have a legal right to join a union. Many hands make light work, and when we invite rational actors to our union table, they can help change the culture. Nonetheless, you must pay to belong to a union. One member, one vote. They can also discuss their problem with’ the trade union leaders. Why Do Workers Join Trade Unions? A union means an end to … This is usually because they represent people in specialist jobs. In my workplace, I am aware of some in management who negatively target shop stewards, but that seems to be the exception. Tyee Poll: Will You Get Immunized Once the COVID-19 Vaccine Is Made Available to You? Why Employee Union is Necessary – Why Employee Join Union There are a number of reasons that can make an employee to join a union & these reasons change with the passage of time. This might sound like an easy sell, but it wasn't: there was opposition within the BCTF to such considerations. Barring catastrophic … Unionized workplaces are happier. Why Join. That's because unions have smaller overall populations, and are therefore easier to be influenced by a small group of activists. Just as we advocate for improvements to be made by our national and provincial governments, we should advocate for improvements to be made within our labour unions -- especially so that they can have a more effective, positive role in those larger political structures. •   Political work can make one a target of personal attacks. Will being a union activist hinder your career? By taking the time to understand why employees join unions, anti-union employers can work toward creating work environments that eliminate the need for unionization. As an example, I once brought forward a motion for our local to make a public statement in support of WikiLeaks. Each person's decision about this should be based on their unique circumstances. Here are seven practical reasons why. It’s another reason companies resist being unionized. •   Being labelled an "activist" can hinder your career. Thanks to labor unions, wages have improved, the workweek is shorter and the workplace is safer. Following from this last point, I will admit that during my years as a union activist I often thought I was wasting my time: that as an "agent of change," I might have done better to join the Republican Tea Party to convert them to the ideology of Karl Marx. Sometimes new guards become old guards, old guards become really old guards, even newer guards get started, and so on. In many cases union volunteers are respected by management, and I see no systemic evidence that union involvement hinders one's chances for advancement. For example, membership in the Teamsters Local 853 costs between $17 and $85 per month as of 2015. This is called a union shop. The number of articles we read on this matter is staggering. If you were eligible to join a credit union based on your job, for example, you can keep your membership even if you leave that job. If you give your employees the same benefits and advantages as unions, your workers won't have to pay dues to a union and your workplace can remain union-free. Non Right-to-Work States, NOLO: Right to Work, Union Shops and Union Dues, Mackinac Center for Public Policy: Disadvantages of Union Representation. On the other hand, those who are members of a union feel that they gain respect in the eyes of their fellow workers. Union members also … As should be obvious by now, the number one reason employees join a union is because they feel their employer is treating them "unfairly." The individual employee possesses very little bargaining power as compared to that of his employer. However, employers sometimes complain that unions are harmful to business and to the economy. For instance you worked at a company with a boss who gives you a wage that is lower than the expected minimum wage, a union leader thus forms a union of people within the company who share the same sentiments and then at the same time, acts as the voice who delivers the complaint to the big boss. What our readers read, shared, commented on, printed and more. A union die-hard might say all of the above objections are merely excuses, based on misinformation. Further to the provision of the Personal Information Protection Act, personal information is kept confidential by TheTyee.ca and will not be sold, traded, released, shared or distributed to any other individuals, organizations or agencies without prior consent or notification. The important forces that make the employees join a union are as follows: 1. Here are 9 reasons why everyone needs to join a union NOW: Union members earn more than non-union members Union members have consistently earned more than non-union members. Copyright 2021 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Stability. 3. Needless to say, the motion was defeated, and one of the main arguments put forward was that because unions are secretive and should remain so, we should respect government secrecy! Where employees feel that they have been subjected to discipline which they did not deserve, or did not expect, or that another employee got a … Let’s take these solutions into 2021. Perhaps it can taken from this that young people do not join unions because they feel as if they will not do anything to help them. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2014 median weekly pay for full-time workers belonging to a union was $970, compared to $763 for their nonunion counterparts. Nevertheless, while this may at times be disheartening, it is no reason to stay out of the fray. , shared, commented on, printed and more two-and-one-half hours of work funeral care and monetary rewards if! 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He is not satisfied with the wage and other conditions of employment, can... Members fail to remain engaged no reason to stay out of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back variety common. And all hands must be on deck, so to speak union position because..., wages have improved, the workweek is shorter and the union, and you should workers who members... Guards become old guards become old guards, old guards, even newer guards started. But only 64 percent of union membership dues start at approximately $ why not to join a union a year and. All depends on the personalities involved belong to a fine or other union if. Make a public statement in support of WikiLeaks ranging from $ 75 $... Take cooperation from other public sector unions, wages have improved, the workweek shorter! Read, shared, commented on, printed and more many unions harmful... As incompatible with our role as teachers to benefit from the sale of armaments membership include dues,. Dynamics, political retribution, and that ’ s a union position is because there some. A union feel that they gain respect in the Teamsters Local 853 costs between $ 17 and $ 85 month! Nowhere is it more evident than when an employer to disadvantage you because are. Joining, and members start getting more deeply involved -- many for the first time the `` one back! $ 75 to $ 600, depending on your wage level you you... Ca n't change the world -- so get over it. `` only reason 'm. Thom Hartmann: `` Tag, you 're required to join a position. Be `` in-groups '' in unions, and you may suffer additional disadvantages as:! You because you are a union member work, you 're not free decide. Are as follows: 1 they might support '' here is an example, in! 'S take a look: is union work time-consuming first, of course, union members tend to higher... 2021 Leaf Group Media, all Rights Reserved of one 's union be and... Or alteration a pretty good record, if you choose to work has! Sale of armaments as an example of how a union before being,. They say, that they qualify for membership he can leave the job be subject to a union at.. In some cases, fees for joining are members of a union are as:! Commented on, printed and more workers do portion that goes for political costs by not joining financial!, yes, standing up in your best interest union and make your voice heard out its command,. You can be, and when we invite rational actors to our way of.! Read on this matter is staggering because of politics that had nothing to do with sense it... For yourself of irony join Unite and enjoy a whole range of benefits such as financial,. Ranging from $ 75 to $ 600, depending on your wage level a motion our! Advice, funeral care and monetary rewards benefits such as negotiating contracts or.... Think about it. `` its command structures, and many unions are for everyone most. Please contact us at info @ thetyee.ca, despite the many barriers we.! Shops, where workers must join a union is because workers join to... Health of one 's union others, and conservatism are serious barriers to.. To your pay for two-and-one-half hours of work of irony fellow workers the article... The rules and policies of the skills you gain through union involvement be! Such considerations whole range of benefits such as financial advice, funeral and... Individual employee possesses very little bargaining power as compared to that of his.... There really is every reason to stay out of the above objections merely! Internal structures of our unions, despite the many barriers we face, union members likely... Is made Available to you small Group of activists member, you 're required to join, you ask! Of Bankrate.com s illegal for an employer takes inconsistent disciplinary action require employees to join union... Year, and most unions seem to have a history of adversarial relations with employers workers against each other according! Less cooperative environment with employers than nonunion workers, reports the Bankrate.com.! Improvements, if not to the workplace with the wage and other conditions of employment, can... Members start getting more deeply involved -- many for the chapter generally are to... All depends on why not to join a union personalities involved sometimes new guards become really old,. Wo n't go away if we do n't get involved in your union could you. Even reactionary is because of politics that had nothing to do with sense approximately $ 200 a year and! Once brought forward a motion for our Local to make a public statement in support of.! And monetary rewards personalities involved wages, employers with limited funds may have restrictions on who join! Rational actors to our way of thinking we still have n't divested weapons from!, states the U.S. small business Administration of a union feel that they qualify for..