Speaking with a collective voice, how unions help all workers is by bargaining for higher wages, benefits and working conditions, efforts that help all Canadians and their communities.
Gains won by unions provide social and economic benefits to extended communities, as workers spend on goods and services and contribute to the tax base. If you are unionized, you are more likely to earn better wages than workers not in a union. For instance, according to Statistics Canada, in 2108 the average weekly wage for union members covered by a collective agreement was $1,107.11, compared to $931.20 for non-unionized workers not covered by an agreement.
Unions are good for democracy, with lots of research showing that societies with strong union representation tend to be more prosperous and democratic than those without that collective voice.
Unions campaign for the collective good, pushing for policies to protect the environment, and for better social and economic justice for all Canadians. They are a defence against arbitrary discipline, poor working conditions, and ensure that the rule of law is active in a workplace. Union-represented workplaces are much less likely to have employers that treat employees poorly or disrespectfully because a collective agreement clearly lays out the rules, including appropriate workplace behaviour.
Unions also add to a work/life balance that eases the stress associated with financial worries. Because unions fight for fair wages, workers have time to devote to their families and communities, to the benefit of all. It’s a win-win situation.
The agreement allows for resolutions to disputes, including those arising from arbitrary action from an employer. Regulated by provincial and federal legislation, unions are legally required to be accountable to their members, transparent and democratic.
Other examples of the positive benefits of union representation abound. For example, CUPE recognizes that unions serve the purpose of reducing gender and age equality, closing the wage gap for women and younger workers. Unions also raise the standards of fairness and equality across society as a whole.
It’s said a rising tide lifts all boats, and this is certainly true with the history of unions in Canada. Historians and economists connect the rise of the middle class with strong unionization levels, as their efforts on behalf of members for better wages and working conditions spur economic growth, especially in local communities.
Unionized workers who are paid a decent wage and enjoy job security help their neighbours by shopping locally, and adding to a tax base that provides for schools, police, healthcare, etc. The benefits of union representation are spread far and wide.
Union members continue to contribute to their communities even in retirement. With one of the benefits bargained for through a collective voice being pensions. The provision of retirement income means that people can have an adequate income to keep them net consumers. Data shows that retirement income also helps to keep retirees off tax-funded programs like the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), easing the burden on younger taxpayers.
It’s evident unions are not only good for members, but for society in general. To learn more about how unions can help all workers and you, contact us today.