Are Unions Relevant?
Do you remember in the days and weeks after Hurricane Irma the stories that came out about employers threatening to fire or firing employees that evacuated? Do you remember hearing that this was perfectly legal and that employees in Florida can be fired for any reason? That's the "right to work" model. It's given a pretty name to make it seem like it's a good thing giving the general public a right to work without having to join a union. In reality, it's nothing more than a union busting method that strips employees of rights and instead gives the employers.
So what exactly have unions done for you? Lets look at this list or a few examples...
36 Reasons Why You Should Thank a Union
-Weekends -All Breaks at Work, including your Lunch Breaks -Paid Vacation -FMLA -Sick Leave -Social Security -Minimum Wage -Civil Rights Act/Title VII (Prohibits Employer Discrimination) -8-Hour Work Day -Overtime Pay -Child Labor Laws -Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) -40 Hour Work Week -Worker's Compensation (Worker's Comp) -Unemployment Insurance -Pensions -Workplace Safety Standards and Regulations -Employer Health Care Insurance -Collective Bargaining Rights for Employees -Wrongful Termination Laws -Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 -Whistleblower Protection Laws -Employee Polygraph Protect Act (Prohibits Employer from using a lie detector test on an employee) -Veteran's Employment and Training Services (VETS) -Compensation increases and Evaluations (Raises) -Sexual Harassment Laws -Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) -Holiday Pay -Employer Dental, Life, and Vision Insurance -Privacy Rights -Pregnancy and Parental Leave -Military Leave -The Right to Strike -Public Education for Children -Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 (Requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work) -Laws Ending Sweatshops in the United States
Do you benefit from any of these? Of course you do, everyone does! Union wages are 27% higher than non union wages, 30% more union workers have employer sponsored healthcare than non union workers, 60% more union workers have a defined pension plan than non union workers, and 21% more union workers have paid sick leave than non union workers. The question shouldn't be "are unions relevant", the question should be "why aren't we fighting for more unions so that more of us can enjoy the benefits they receive?"
It seems as though more people would rather jump to defend the businesses and corporations screwing over their employees in a union dispute than acknowledging that workers deserve fair wages and other certain benefits. Every worker should deserve to evacuate with the looming threat of a hurricane and not worry about being fired when they can't make it back because of gas shortages. Instead of complaining about unions and saying "why should they get all those benefits" you need to stand up and fight with them- join them! They are fighting for your rights too.
I was proud to stand with the Teamsters Local 79 union this week as they rallied for a raise they were told they would receive in October. They still don't have it because the human resources director has taken it upon herself to wage a war against them. Stand up with them, call the Pascoc County Adminstration or send Dan Biles, the Pasco County Administrator, an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him to give our public employees the raise they were promised so long ago without trying to undermine their contracts. Tell them our public workers deserve fair wages before we lose them all to surrounding counties.