"What Have You Done For Me Lately?"

Anna Smith

March 16, 2023

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What’s the first thing you hear from a non-member when you ask them to join the union?

Maybe surprise! Many non-members have never been asked to join the union. But a lot more non-members really just don’t understand what we are and what we do. They might ask “Why? What’s the union going to do for me?”

There are a lot of ways to answer that question. We are a family. By working together in a union, we have a voice on the job and rights that must be observed. Together we are powerful; alone we are powerless.

A great way to help them understand why we are all stronger in a union is to explain the union difference.

The union difference is the gap between what we achieve in a union job through collective bargaining and what workers in non-union jobs get.

The most obvious thing is money. A worker covered by a union contract earns 11.2 percent more, on average, in wages than a worker with similar education, occupation, and experience in a non-unionized workplace in the same sector.

Another important union difference is health care. Nonunion workers are far less likely to have employer-sponsored health care. More than nine in 10 workers who are covered by a union contract have access to employer-sponsored health benefits. Just 69 percent of non-union workers can say the same thing.

Everyone should have health care as a right, but until we can win that fight, a union card is one of the best guarantees of affordable health care out there.

Over nine in 10 workers covered by a union contract have access to paid sick days, compared with just 75 percent of non-union workers.

Unions give each of our members an equal opportunity to advance in the workplace. We believe every worker deserves a fair chance to succeed. There is more equal pay in unionized jobs, whether you look at race or gender.

Union jobs are good for the whole community. States with higher union membership invest more in education and health care. Life expectancy is actually longer (80.2 years) in states with high union membership compared to states with low union membership (78.1 years).

So, when you talk to those non-members in your work place, be sure to let them know that building a strong union is good for them, for their family, and for the whole community around us. 

The Union Difference


11 percent better pay with a union

Health Care

96 percent better health care vs. 69 percent without

Paid sick days

93 percent have paid sick leave vs. 75 percent that don't

Equal pay

Union contract gives better protection against discrimination

Source: https://proact.aflcio.org/the-union-difference

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