Four Dandy Reasons To Join A Union That You Never Thought Of
Unions have legal representation and are able to stand up for employees rights when they are being mistreated. Many times I have seen were unions have been able to help employees file unfair labor practices, sue for payment, sue for benefit payment, and other scenarios where employers have cheated workers from money or benefits that are owed to them. Unions can also petition private companies and public entities to pay Family living wages and benefits for employees and in this way are able to represent both union and non union craftworkers by making a way for them to earn better wages and benefits.
Union work places are safer. One good thing about unions is that they usually make agreements with their signatory contractors to pay a small amount of money into apprenticeship programs. These programs then are able to pay for Apprentice training, journeyman upgrade training, and also safety training. The contractors want employees who are highly skilled who are safe and craft workers who can make money for the contractor without costing the contractor a lot of money in medical and insurance costs. Most unions teach their apprentices and journeyman OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 training which is 10 and 30 hours of safety training ending in those workers receiving a card showing that they have fulfilled all of the requirements to pass the OSHA 10 hour OSHA 30 class that was prepared by the occupational safety and health administration. This helps the contractor to avoid costly injuries and deaths on job sites, citations from Osha inspectors, and paves the way for lower insurance bills if they can prove that they are a safer contractor than the average. Oh contractors are looking for an edge and if you can get lower insurance rates then you can bid lower and thus you can gain more marketshare and be a more profitable contractor.
Unions fight for equal pay and equal opportunities on their work places. These days we are hearing a lot of the double standard between wages for men and women. The good thing about trade unions is that their wages for apprentices and journeyman are written in the contract. The contract also states that there will be no toleration for discrimination. Men and women alike make the same amount of money if they are journeyman. Also because of the language in the contract that calls for non-discrimination, there really is no discrimination on the work place between races. I will also add that many unions are actively seeking more women to apply to work in the trades. Unions like the fact that more and more often women are choosing to become a premises and journey out and become great employees for the contractors as well. Some even take it further and become contractors themselves. Some of the best union contractors we work for are owned by women.
Unions can help you find a job. So you’re working on a job site and you’ve been there for six months and the outlook is that the job will last another six months, but what do you do after that? You know you’re going to get laid off when the job is over unless you get lucky and the contractor has another job lined up. Sometimes they do. Many union employees work for the same company all the time year after year job after job. But typically the way union contractors work is they hire mini union workers when there’s a lot of work and then went to work slows down, they get laid off. The union may be able to help those workers find a different contractor to work for if there is a lot of work and many contractors that are signatory to the union. Don’t get me wrong you can still call buddies and contractors and ask if they need help but it’s always nice to have the union looking for work for you as well. My union has a list that you sign when you were laid off. This lets other contractors know that you are available. We have a 2 to 1 ratio were contractors can read your name on the list and call you out by name. They can do this for two workers and then they have to take the first person on the out of work list. Then they can go back and request to more again by name and so forth. The list continues to move in if you don’t get called off by name eventually make your way to the top of the list and you were sent out on the next call. If the call last less than three days you stay at the top of the list and go out again. If you are a good worker and you have made a name for yourself you usually stay pretty busy. I can only think of one time when I was concerned after I was laid off but I ended up going to work after three days. Almost the rest of my career I was always working. Mostly for the same contractor but once in a while I would have to take a job with another contractor as mine was out of work. The beauty of it is that we keep our same benefit plan and our same retirement plan. It also gives you time between jobs to do journeyman upgrade classes get more certifications and make yourself more marketable. It’s a good deal for everyone including the contractors.
Darren is a union organizer in the southwest United States who believes that workers should be represented as a group in order to be able to live a better lifestyle.