THE UNION DIFFERENCE
WHY YOU NEED A UNION
Through unions, workers join together to win better wages, benefits and a voice on the job – and good union jobs mean stronger communities. Unions lead the fight today for better lives for working people. Union members have also been on the front lines of the fight for civil rights. Unions give workers a voice at work, to bargain as a group for benefits such as non-discrimination protections and domestic partner benefits. Union members earn better wages and benefits than workers who aren’t union members. On average, union workers’ wages are 30 percent higher than their nonunion counterparts. While only 14 percent of nonunion workers have guaranteed pensions, fully 68 percent of union workers do. More than 97 percent of union workers have jobs that provide health insurance benefits, but only 85 percent of nonunion workers do. Unions help employers create a more stable, productive workforce—where workers have a say in improving their jobs.
A legally-binding union contract is often the only protection LGBT workers have to fight employment discrimination. In a majority of states, workers can be fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
Collective bargaining raises wages — especially for women and people of color. By bargaining collectively, union members are able to negotiate higher wages.
Union members earn 28 percent more than nonunion members. The union wage benefit is greatest for people of color and women.
Latino union workers earn 50 percent more than their nonunion counterparts.
Union women earn 34 percent more than nonunion women.
For African Americans, the union advantage is 29 percent.
The union advantage for white male workers is 21 percent. For Asian American workers the union advantage is 4 percent.
Unions help bring low-wage workers out of poverty. Union members in low-wage occupations on average earn a great deal more than nonunion workers in the same occupations, often lifting their earnings above the official poverty level.
For example, union cashiers in 2006 earned an average of $11.87—46 percent more than nonunion workers in the same occupation.
Over a year’s time, having a union card could translate into more than $7,800 in additional pay for such a low wage worker.
WHAT IS A CONSTITUENCY GROUP?
The AFL-CIO’s constituency groups are officially recognized organizations that serve as unions’ bridge to diverse communities, creating and strengthening partnerships to enhance the standard of living for all workers and their families. The groups also promote the full participation of women and minorities in the union movement and ensure unions hear and respond to the concerns of the communities we represent.
THE CONSTITUENCY GROUPS OF THE AFL-CIO ARE AS FOLLOWS : (click on link to be redirected to their sites):
WHAT IS THE AFL-CIO?
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is a voluntary federation (coalition) of 53 national and international labor unions.
Today’s unions represent 9 million working women and men of every race and ethnicity and from every walk of life. We are teachers and teamsters, musicians and miners, firefighters and farm workers, bakers and bottlers, engineers and editors, pilots and public employees, doctors and nurses, painters and laborers—and more.
The AFL-CIO was created in 1955 by the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. Since its founding, the AFL-CIO and its affiliate unions have been the single most effective force in America for enabling working people to build better lives and futures for our families.