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  • Writer's pictureAssociation Legislative Employees

What are the benefits* of being unionized?

No union can guarantee what will be in the contract—that is the product of negotiation with each employer. But, on average, unionized workers enjoy better wages and benefits than non-unionized workers. Workers would enjoy protection against unjust termination (instead of current at-will employment where employees can be let go at any time without just cause), a voice in workplace decisions, procedures for resolving workplace disputes, including recourse against harassment and supervisor or Member misconduct, and the security of a written contract— which means that what they win at the table cannot be taken back on the whim of their employer or by transitions between Members or Speakers.

Ultimately, each position and division must make an assessment of their workplace issues and if and how they can be addressed through unionization. The organizing committee is happy to meet with any Council employees or divisions on the benefits and potential risks of unionization.

Some Examples of Potential Benefits*

Workers who unionize also help to raise workplace standards for all employees in their industry and community. They become a part of a local, national and international network of solidarity, through which workers support one another in their individual struggles and pool their numbers and resources to bring about social, economic and political changes that benefit all working people.

Union members can't be terminated without cause.

Without a union, most workers are “at-will” employees, meaning they can be fired at any time for any non-discriminatory reason. Unionized workers can only be fired for “just cause.” You don't have to worry that a debate or disagreement with a supervisor will result in a pink slip. Most union contracts have strict and clear rules that management are required to follow in order to discipline or terminate someone.

We have power to obtain dignified salaries and benefits

We can fight for parental leave, overtime, flex time, compensatory time, anti-harassment policy, and other policies and benefits (like childcare) that recognize the value of our work and are guaranteed and cannot be changed during the contract. They apply to everyone and are not based on favoritism or job category.

We never have to face a problem alone.

We have support in the event that an issue arises. If you are overwhelmed by work or haven't received sufficient training, the union can help you negotiate your workload and hours, and obtain the training and support you need. If you are facing discipline, the union will help defend you. If you report a problem, the union will stand with you to see it gets resolved and protect you from retaliation.

Union members get a seat at the table.

In a non-union organization, management has the power to establish whatever rules and changes they desire. In a unionized organization, management has to negotiate with staff over proposed changes – they can’t impose them unilaterally. You get a voice in decision-making.

*All terms are subject to negotiations made by the eventual elected bargaining committee and the employer and/or labor office.

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