Monday, September 07, 2009

Just a Few Ways Unions Have Helped

Rosie the Riveter: you go, Girl!

Happy Labor Day (USA readers)! Here are some things we enjoy thanks to the work of labor unions:
* weekends!
* 8-hour work days
* decent wages (this has been eroding over time, with low-wage workers falling behind, and a few shumckys at the top getting rich - see Walmart)
* benefits - e.g. sick leave, holidays
* pensions (and these days, access to 401K or 403B plans)
* family & medical leave
* job security, some enjoy this more than others
* workers are allowed to grieve an unjust labor practice
* protection from harassment

Everyone knows unions are not perfect, but where would we be without them!? I personally love having a weekend.

Here are some things I have enjoyed at my own job, thanks to union support in our labor negotiations. None of these existed when I first started in my career. The union was key in helping us secure these items:

* recognition of national certification in my field
* reimbursement for certification testing fees and annual dues
* pay rate lane changes that compensate for having a B.A. degree (B.A. is not currently required in my position)
* providing professional development times at which I can earn CEUs (which are required by law)
* pay increase upon achieving certain years of longevity
* increased employer contributions to retirement and to health insurance premiums
* decent pay scale (when I started it was unbelievably poor)

Isn't it nice that we get to enjoy so many benefits thanks to the hard work of people who came before us? (And who are still here helping us whether or not we are aware of their work.) I have today off in their honor!!!


Cher said...

could you contact me about sharing your Gay Marriage= family values on your sidebar? I would like to put one on mine..thanks!

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Sheesh, I left a long comment and it disappeared. Anyway: I support workers gaining power against the bosses who hold sway over them, especially in bad economic times, when, I think, that the workers are reduced to thinking, "Well, at least I have a job." My son says he is appalled at the bad business ethics he has seen since he's been out working. He has a degree in Human Resources.

But the other thing I feel strongly about is that when wage earners work hard to improve their conditions and salaries, they need to be aware of where they spend their money. Support the local business man who keeps the money in the community, for example. And if the worker wants to shop at a big box store, find out where the profits go, find out why there are such bargains (stuff made overseas for almost-slave wages) and what the local workers make there. For example, one of the Big Box stores selling building supplies, headquartered in the mid-west, pays really really low wages, and the workers have to buy any benefits that they "get." Even the managers are paid low wages.