The Role of the Labor Union in Modern Society
Welcome to the site of Plumbers and Steamfitters of UA Local 7! Whether you are an apprentice, long-time member, an un-affiliated journeyman in search of work, or a member of our vibrant community, we thought you would enjoy the following blog post about the benefits and role of union members in modern American society. There is a tendency these days in some circles to deride collecitve bargaining and workers organizing for better pay and benefits as a "thing of the past." The following post describes a different view, from a family member of an older, retired Plumber who worked hard to build this country. We at Plumbers Local 7 feel that every working New Yorker is entitled to the economic rights and privilegs described below. FDR himself voiced these concerns and urged a "Second Bill of Economic Rights." Unions are more necessary now than ever. Enjoy the post, which comes to us courtesy of Glen Brown, a teacher, poet, and musician whose blog may be found here.
The most sweeping advantage for unionized workers is in fringe benefits. Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.
Unions play a pivotal role both in securing legislated labor protections and rights such as safety and health, overtime, and family/medical leave and in enforcing those rights on the job. Because unionized workers are more informed, they are more likely to benefit from social insurance programs such as unemployment insurance and workers compensation. Unions are, thus, an intermediary institution that provides a necessary complement to legislated benefits and protections (Data are from the Economic Policy Institute).
Also watch "Unions are in Peril": http://truth-out.org/video/item/10290-bill-fletcher-jr-and-stephen-lerner-unions-are-in-peril