The union stewards at Delco Inc. were having their monthly stewards meeting. As the meeting was drawing to a close, Anne Burlak, the Chief Steward asked if there was any other business. "Yeah, I've got something that some people are asking me about," said George Dimitrof, Department 17 Steward. "They keep asking why every time we have a discussion about needing more money for the union they get told we need it for organizing the unorganized." "Well that's true," said Anne. "A lot of the people in my area have been here for a long time," said George, "they don't know how different it is out there in the non-union places. I need some facts to make them see what's really going on out there."
Whether as a UE steward you are talking to a new member about why he/she should join the union or talking about how non-union wages and benefits drag down union wages and benefits, you need facts to back up your story. Here are some facts from reports issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and another report from the Economic Policy Institute entitled "How Unions Help All Workers."
- Unionized workers receive more generous health benefits than non-unionized workers. They also pay 18% lower health care deductibles, and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage.
- Unionized workers receive better pension plans. Not only are they more likely to have a guaranteed benefit in retirement, their employers contribute 28% more toward pensions.
- Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave (vacations and holidays).
- Strong unions set a pay standard that non-union employers follow. For example, a high school graduate whose workplace is not unionized, but whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more than similar workers in less unionized industries.
- Unions play a pivotal role both in securing legislated labor protections and rights such as safety and health, overtime and family-medical leave and in enforcing those rights on the job.
- Because union members are more informed, they are more likely to benefit from social insurance programs such as unemployment insurance and workers compensation. The plain fact is that unions make a substantial difference.