The Union Advantage
A Union Is People
People working co-operatively for the common good — employees working together as a team to obtain benefits and rights they could not obtain on their own — that’s what a union is all about. One person on their own without a union who asks the boss for a raise or a longer vacation has no bargaining power. They’re entirely at the mercy of management.
Unity Brings Strength
When all of a company’s employees unite to demand improvements, the employer has no choice but to listen. A union allows workers to negotiate as equals with their employer. Proof of the difference the collective bargaining process can make is found in Statistics Canada data which shows that union members receive on average 41.5 per cent higher wages than non-union workers doing the same types of jobs.
Strikes are a Rare Occurrence
Sometimes a union finds a strike is necessary to make a particularly stubborn boss listen to the members’ demands for improvements, but that’s a rare occurrence. Over 98 per cent of UFCW Local 832′s contracts are reached without a strike becoming necessary.
A strike never takes place unless a majority of the affected workers vote to say that’s what they want to do. A union is a totally democratic organization.
UFCW Local 832 never resorts to a strike when negotiating a first collective agreement. Other alternatives are available to achieve our members’ objectives without having to go on strike to win them.
Return on Union Dues High
If union contracts were included in the financial news reported in the media, they would be called ‘top performers’. Buying stocks or putting money in other investments is a gamble. Putting money into union dues is almost always a good investment.
Depending on the type of business being looked at, people who ‘buy’ a collective agreement with their union dues can expect to see their income increase by anywhere from 30 per cent to 100 per cent or more. The retail sector is a good example of the difference having a union can make.
Most food stores are unionized. Workers in those unionized stores generally earn wages that range from $10 to $17 per hour. They’re also probably covered by a dental plan, pension plan, and other benefits.
Other types of stores, including Wal-Mart, are generally not unionized. Those same stores are notorious for paying wages that seldom rise much above the provincial minimum wage. Benefits such as dental plans and pension plans are rare in such stores. Those that do have such plans generally only make them available to senior staff, who have to pay high premiums if they want to be covered by these plans.
Staff turnover in those stores is generally high, both because employees know there is little hope of ever rising much above the minimum wage no matter how long they remain there – and because without a union, the company may terminate staff for no other reason than to have ‘new faces’ or a different outlook in the store.
In most cases, UFCW Local 832 members pay union dues are less than one hour’s pay per week. There aren’t many other investments you can make where one hour’s work can bring about a better life by making drastic improvement in wages, benefits, job security and the respect you’re shown on the job.
Membership in UFCW Local 832. Something to think about for any worker who wants a better life.