Why Unions Matter
Unions Make Life Better for Workers and Their Families.
Unions are democracy in action. American workers that are covered by a union contract earn an average of 11.2% more in wages than unorganized women and men in the same industry and occupation with similar education and experience. When it comes to workers of color, Black workers represented by a union are paid 13.7% more and unionized Hispanic workers are paid 20.1% more than their non-union counterparts.
Union membership provides more than higher pay. 92% of union workers have job-related health coverage versus 68% of non-union workers. Americans who are covered by a union contract are also more likely to have a guaranteed pension and protections against unjust dismissal and for their health and safety.
All of this comes from the power of collective bargaining. The federally protected right to be part of a union gives working people the chance to connect to the other people on the job and democratically decide how to negotiate with their employer for respectful, safe and fair working conditions, benefits and wages.
Unions are a guaranteed method of continuously and consistently raising industry standards for workers as each collective bargaining contract builds on the previous one. Collective bargaining includes the protection of rights, a method for dispute resolution, and holding the employer accountable.
Unions, Efficiency and Healthier, and Healthier Affordable Housing
Unions are at the forefront of helping our buildings become more efficient and healthier. From the electricians who install renewable energy and efficient lighting systems to the plumbers and pipefitters who are removing and replacing old lead pipes to ensure safe drinking water, there are multiple unions in the Building Trades who play an essential role.
The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) is setting standards for how efficient, affordable housing can be built with union labor. The HIT is an investment fund for pension plans and labor organizations that finances the development of multi- and single-family residential real estate projects in the U.S. They work with public and private entities to identify investment opportunities that fund affordable housing developments, foster community development and create union jobs. They’ve built over 82,000 affordable housing units with 100% union labor and their Building America Community Development Entity (CDE) focuses on training low-income community residents to be at least 20% of a project’s construction and permanent workers.