Member Resources Why Unions Matter

Paying Union Dues Could be the Best Insurance Plan You’ve Got

Some union members complain and resent having to pay union dues and I wanted to share my perspective on the matter. I invite you to check out our postings on out website about the history and benefits of unionism to all of us. Unions and union members set the bar high for our country so that health and safety standards remain high, wages are within the living range and benefits are part of employment packages.

We expect a reasonable standard of living to be provided by our employer, regardless of the type of work, and that is a good thing. Unions have worked hard to make sure that these benefits are in place and stay vigilant to ensure that they do not slip. Paying union dues allows the union to do this on our collective behalf. It is essentially the best insurance plan you’ve got to ensure a safe and healthy work environment and a reasonable standard of living.

Below I have shared with you some of the benefits to being part of a unionized workforce:

Higher Wages – Higher Standard of Living

Statistics show that union members in Canada typically make $5.09 per hour more than non-union workers doing similar work. The difference is even greater for female employees who generally earn almost $6.00 more per hour more than their non-unionized counterparts. While a third of non-union employees make less than $10 per hour, only eight per cent of union members earn less than that amount.

Health and Welfare Plans Provide Security

Workplace benefits such as a pension plan, medical plan and dental plan have a big impact on a person’s quality of life. The person who has such benefits enjoys more security, both now in the future. Unionized jobs are far more likely than non-union jobs to provide such benefits.

Canadian statistics indicate that 80 per cent of workers with union representation have a pension plan, while only 27 per cent of workers without a union have a pension plan. In the area of health care, 78 per cent of union members have a medical plan – a benefit provided to only 40 per cent of people without union representation. It’s a similar story when it comes to dental plans – a benefit provided to 72 per cent of union workers, but to only 38 per cent of people who lack union membership.

More Time Off to Spend With Your Family

When it comes to vacations and paid holidays such as the May long weekend, Canada Day and Thanksgiving, unionized workers come out ahead again. Seven out of 10 unionized workers receive at least four weeks paid vacation after eight to 10 years of service with an employer. More than seven out of 10 unionized workers have 11 or more days of paid holidays during the calendar year.

Union Membership Gives Strength in Numbers

The major difference in wages and benefits stems from that fact that with a union, people work together for the common good. One person on their own without a union who asks the boss for a raise or a longer vacation has no bargaining power. They’re entirely at the mercy of management.

When all of a company’s employees unite to negotiate improvements, the employer has no choice but to listen. A union allows workers to negotiate as equals with their employer.

Union Membership is a Good Investment

If union contracts were included in the financial news reported in the media, they would be called ‘top performers’. Buying stocks or putting money in other investments is a gamble. Putting money into union dues is always a good investment that will provide excellent returns.

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