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What Unions Do

Unions are about a simple proposition: By joining together, working women and men gain strength in numbers so they can have a voice at work about what they care about. They negotiate a contract with their employer for things like a fair and safe workplace, better wages, a secure retirement and family-friendly policies such as paid sick leave and scheduling hours. They have a voice in how their jobs get done, creating a more stable, productive workforce that provides better services and products. Always adapting to the challenges of our nation’s evolving workforce, unions are meeting the needs of workers in today’s flexible and nontraditional work environments. Because no matter what type of job workers are in, by building power in unions, they can speak out for fairness for all working people in their communities and create better standards and a strong middle class across the country.

The Union Difference

Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 27 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts.

Unionized workers are 60 percent more likely to have employer-provided pensions.

More than 85 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 54 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.

Unions help bring workers out of poverty and into the middle class. In fact, in states where workers don’t have union rights, workers’ incomes are lower.

Questions about Organizing

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Union Money

Earnings by Occupation, 2012 Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers’ Median Weekly Earnings:

In nearly every occupational category, workers who are not members of unions have smaller paychecks than union members. By comparing the wages of workers within occupational groups, the cost of not being able to bargain collectively is clear.

Your Rights at Work

Working people in America have certain basic legal rights to safe, healthy and fair conditions at work. But many employers—perhaps yours—violate these fundamental rights because they value their profits more than their workers.

This site will enable you to find help if that happens to you, with links to government agencies that investigate complaints as well as advocacy organizations that assist people with related problems.