Union Benefits Extend to Families and Communities
Unions were formed to give workers a collective voice to fight for better wages, working conditions and benefits. It’s no surprise then, that those hard-won union benefits also support families and communities as well.
Union representation means that workers are more likely to earn higher wages than those not covered by a collective agreement. According to research by the Canadian Labour Congress, unionized workers across the country on average, earn more than $5 an hour than non-union workers do; women with union representation earned more than $7 an hour than non-union workers, and employees under 25 earned an additional 27 per cent due to being covered by a collective agreement.
Because unionized workers spend their wages in their communities, union benefits are shared. Families are provided health coverage, including vision and medication benefits. That in turn supports the growth of local services, such as physicians, dentists, optometrists, and other health professionals. The entire community benefits.
Added to all of this are the wellness benefits a family enjoys from higher union wages and job stability. When the bills can get paid, vacations taken, and money saved, it cuts down on the stress that not being able to do all those things can bring.
Union Benefits Continue in Retirement
The support extends to retirement. One of the benefits enjoyed through collective bargaining with an employer is a retirement plan, meaning workers can retire with adequate income to maintain their lifestyle. It allows them to remain consumers, contributing to local economies. Research shows that a substantial portion of local spending comes from retirees with adequate, reliable retirement income.
That retirement income has implications for the tax base as well, as retirees with adequate income are less likely to rely on tax-funded programs like the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
At the other end of the age spectrum, union benefits help younger workers earn a fair wage. Data shows that more than 350,000 workers, 15 to 24, belong to a union. That’s about 15 per cent of the total workforce in that age group. Belonging to a union puts more money in the pockets of these young workers, who earn, on average, more than $3 an hour than non-unionized young workers.
Young union members may also have access to education, apprenticeships, and other opportunities to advance career aspirations. A strong and supported union presence in Canada is a vital component of the stability and growth of the middle class. Countries with strong rates of unionization usually report fewer social ills, including wage inequality. Simply put, unions work for the greater good of society.
The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Ontario Council (IUPAT) represents a variety of skilled trades including painters, drywall finishers, glaziers/glass and metal technicians, EIFS/stucco workers, hazardous materials workers, and sign writers. Contact us today to learn more about your union benefits.