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What does it mean to Negotiate?

This is a common question and often overlooked when individuals are given the opportunity to join their local union. The fact is that negotiations is a major benefit to union members and plays a vital role in workplace satisfaction:

According to dictionary.com Negotiate means:

1. to deal or bargain with another or others, as in the preparation of a treaty or contract or in preliminaries to a business deal.

2. to arrange for or bring about by discussion and settlement of terms, [i.e. to negotiate a loan or a contract.]

When someone hears the word negotiations, often times “Labor Union” comes to mind.

People who aren’t in a union or don’t know anyone in a trade or labor union are often unsure what labor unions do and why someone would join. Labor unions strive to improve the lives of all working families – to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. It’s all about making sure working families get what they collectively deserve.  A labor union or trade union is an organized group of workers who unite to make decisions about conditions affecting their work.♦

Who are union members?

There are over 60 unions representing over 14 million workers throughout the country. No matter what work you do, there’s a union that represents your work.  Teachers and miners, firefighters and farm workers, bakers and engineers, pilots and public employees, doctors and nurses, patients and plumbers, bus drivers, office workers and computer professionals are all union members.♦

So what’s in it for me you might ask?

Benefits of belonging to a union

One of the big reasons workers join a union is to ensure fair treatment in the workplace.  As a union member, you have a collective voice regarding:

  • Pay & wages,
  • Work hours,
  • Benefits – including retirement plans, health insurance, vacation and sick leave, tuition reimbursement, etc.,
  • Working conditions,
  • Workplace health and safety,
  • Ways to balance work and family,
  • The best ways to get work completed, and
  • Other work-related issues.

Another advantage of belonging to a union is that members earn 30% more than non-union workers. And if you’re a union worker, you are also much more likely to have health and pension benefits.

In addition, unions give workers like you a strong collective voice that’s heard in government. Unions represent workers in talks with lawmakers, and remind politicians that working families voted them into office.

Some of the benefits – like the weekend – that workers take for granted today were initially provided by unions. ♦


♦ Union information cited from: (http://www.unionplus.org/about/labor-unions, 2014)
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