Every employee has a contract with her or his employer that sets
out the terms and conditions, pay rates, benefits, etc. of the
employment arrangement. Some of these agreements are written and
others may be oral, but in most cases, the employee must
negotiate the terms of her or his employment on their own.
In contrast, when workers unite to form a union at their
worksites, the union bargains for them collectively. Collective
bargaining is a process for employees to have a voice in their
workplace and in their employment contracts. By electing a union
to negotiate wages, benefits, work schedules and other terms and
conditions of employment–rather than each individual employee
trying to get a deal with the boss–organized employees are better
able to ensure fair employment terms and safe working conditions.
Numerous studies have shown that union membership pays off at the
bargaining table. A few examples include:
Only 20 percent of non-union workers are
covered by a guaranteed (defined-benefit) pension, while
100 percent of all Local 1000 permanent civil service
workers are covered;
Only 63 percent of non-union workers have
paid sick leave, while 100 percent of Local 1000
permanent, permanent-intermittent and seasonal clerks have paid
Non-union employees pay an average of 33
percent of the premium for family healthcare coverage;
Local 1000 members pay on average
20 percent after the first year of
Nationally, the average female worker makes 77
percent of what the average male employee makes.
Among Local 1000-represented employees, women make 93
percent of what the average male employee makes in state
service and the gap is closing.
By working together, and bargaining collectively, we can improve
our workplaces, the quality of services we provide and the
communities in which we live.