Labor unions are organizations created by workers for the purpose of negotiating with employers. These organizations work by uniting workers and using their collective presence to create bargaining power. Unions play a major role not only in procuring higher wages, but also securing better benefits and safer working conditions. Although unions are run by union members, the benefits they secure through collective bargaining agreements affect all workers.
Unions Are Good for All Workers
At the end of the day, the main goal of a union is to improve work conditions for all employees. While members may benefit the most, unions help everyone involved. This is because unions set pay standards and workplace protections across the industry. Here are a few ways unions can help non-union workers:
One of the most common concerns among workers is compensation. That’s why unions are often used to negotiate with employers to increase wages. When these discussions are successful, they can result in pay raises for skilled workers and increases in the minimum wage. Unfortunately, the decline of unions in recent years has caused wages to stagnate.
In the past, any non-wage compensation was referred to as “fringe benefits”. Fringe benefits are additions to compensation that could be offered to all or a select group of employees. This includes many of the perks we currently take for granted like health care insurance, retirement plans, and flexible paid leave. Today, employers are required to provide these benefits to all employees, however, that may not have been the case if unions didn’t exist.
Health and Safety
Unions have affected the workplace in various ways; however, their most important contribution may be improvements in employee health and workplace safety. In addition to investing in programs to help educate workers on workplace hazards, union representatives can also investigate injury- or fatality-related accidents. To this day, unions continue to champion worker safety through education and holding employers accountable for maintaining a safe environment.
Employees have the best information on how to improve their workplace because they are on the front lines every day. Unions create a safe space for working people to share information on what works and what doesn’t without the fear of retaliation from executives. Unions also work to make companies more transparent by requiring employers to provide information on company finances and processes. This gives non-union workers the ability to learn more about the business they work for.
Learn More About the Importance of Unions
Founded in 1957, Southwest Pipe Trades and MCA Texas Joint Marketing Committee is an advocate for adequate and safe plumbing, heating, piping, refrigeration, ventilating, and other related work. We work with the labor movement to help educate the public on the importance of a safe working environment. Contact us today to learn more.