Why form a union?

Employees can solve problems at work more effectively as a group.  Through forming a union and negotiating a contract, employees can secure the things they like about their job, and they can make changes in areas that need improvement.

White-collar and blue-collar workers agree: With a union, they have a concrete way to improve their jobs and their lives. Unions get results.

A Voice at Work

If employees don't have a voice at work, they can gain one through a union. If they face unfair treatment, they can negotiate policies that ensure fairness. If they have low wages and poor benefits, they have a way to demand better. If they have concerns about staffing levels, overtime, safety or other conditions of work, they can have a voice in making change.

Better Pay

Union membership helps raise workers' pay and narrow the income gap experienced by minorities and women. Union workers earn 28 percent more than nonunion workers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary work were $696 in 2000, compared to $542 for their nonunion counterparts.

The union wage benefit is even greater for minorities and women. Union women earn 31 percent more than nonunion women; African American union members earn 37 percent more than their nonunion counterparts and for Latino workers, the union advantage totals 55 percent.

Better Benefits

Union workers are more likely than their nonunion counterparts to receive health care and pension benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 1997, 86 percent of union workers in medium and large establishments had medical care benefits, compared with only 74 percent of nonunion workers. Union workers also are more likely to have retirement and short-term disability benefits.