What are the Benefits of Being A Union Member?

A Union represents the institutionalization of workers in the form of an organization which acts as a platform where its members can connect and engage in activities beneficial to them professionally and make a positive impact on their lives. There are many examples of such unions, for instance, Carpenters local 322, building trades council, carpenters union training centre, etc. who function in this domain to facilitate workers in collective bargaining, claiming their rights and perks. Generally, Unions are formed within the firms consisting of employees of the same firm, beyond that there are associations with whom multiple unions for workers with the same skill set like carpenters, get affiliated.

building and construction trades councilInterestingly, there are numerous benefits determined by collective bargaining, a union member enjoy, such as :


  1. Union, a force multiplier

An individual worker doesn’t have enough leverage over the employer to negotiate effectively, as compared to a group. The strength of a group reflects in this old proverb, “Sticks in a bundle are unbreakable”. Representatives are chosen to represent the group members and convey the latter’s demands and wishes to employers.


  1. Fair Wages and incentives

As per studies, those workers who remain a member of any Union, are generally positioned to have higher wages as compared to non-unionised workers due to their ability to bargain collectively for more money. Unions also help members securing unemployment insurance along with post-retirement benefits like pension plans for a decent living for oneself and the family.


  1. Training, Apprenticeship, Specialization and Skill Upgradation

Unions help members in enhancing the standards and procedures of the sector they work in. They achieve this through improved efficiency, quality, skill advancement by constant innovation, technical training in alliance with governments, industry, academia, etc. For example, Carpenters Local 322 also functions as carpenters’ union training centre at St. Paul, Minnesota.


  1. HealthCare, Medical Benefits, Insurance and Safety

Many Unions institute active funds to help the members with their and families’ medical check-ups, life insurance, disability compensations, travel allowances, etc. They also negotiate on behalf of the members to extract better terms from companies for the same purposes. Unions also have meetings, discussions with employers to get the assurances of workplace safety and security by hedging against any hazard or accidental mishappening.


  1. Legal Help  

Employees often need good lawyers to navigate through the complexities of labour laws, if the needs such as workers compensation law firm for any workplace injury, wage or insurance conflicts, employment terms issues, etc. arise. Many law firms are working in this direction to ensure that workers get their due. However, it becomes difficult for any individual worker to go through this alone. Thus, Union comes as a support system to help workers connecting with law firms and getting the resolution of issues.  


  1. Recommendation for jobs

Layoffs and rendering people unemployed are not uncommon for firms; however, they become less arbitrary when workers are organized in unions as firms generally can’t afford to face strikes by all employees or shut down the plant and suffer heavy losses. Notwithstanding, people do lose jobs and unions come in handy by providing the placements. Unions have their linkages with the industry, and in case of need, they give the recommendation and referral to the workers.


  1. Collective decision making

A Union act as an equalizer and provide a platform for every member to participate democratically in the decision making, present views, opinions, and come out with the outcomes based on consensus. This not only makes the workers feel important enough to be part of the system and not just a cog in the machine but also infuse them with the much-needed confidence, which increases their efficiency.


  1. Countering nepotism, biased promotions

Many times, corporate, firms support the system of nepotism, favouritism in appointments or biased promotions. However, unions stand firm in front of such activities as it represents the workers and negotiate their rights.


  1. Vacations and Paid leaves  

According to a briefing paper by the Economic Policy Institute, members of any union at any time get more holiday time and paid leaves by 26% and 14% respectively, as compared to the non-unionized workers. Thus, this represents how unions can hold the better bargain at their end for their members.


  1. Better Informed  

Being as members of Union, workers remain better informed than others and that enable them to use benefits supported by legislations and present their case in a logical and reasonable fashion.

Therefore, Unions provide members with a significant linkage with the management of the company and a collective voice so that they can communicate their demand effectively. Unions also serve as a mechanism for the protection of the rights of members and a platform where people from the same or different professional community can come along for democratic and coordinative discourse.