I am a proud 40-year member of IBEW Local 112. I have enjoyed steady employment and raised my family on the wages and benefits negotiated between the union and our signatory contractors.
The union labor movement in the United States led to:
▪ Securing Social Security and Medicare
▪ Ending child labor
▪ The right for workers to collectively bargain their wages, benefits and working conditions
▪ The eight-hour workday and paid overtime
▪ State industrial insurance
▪ Unemployment insurance
▪ A minimum wage
▪ Healthcare insurance
▪ Paid sick leave, vacations and holidays
▪ Elimination of job discrimination by ethnicity, color, religion, sex or national origin
▪ Family medical leave
▪ The 40-hour work week and the weekend
These conditions, which also benefit non-union workers, would vanish quickly if unions went away.
Additionally, many people who are searching for a career benefit from union apprenticeships, where they can learn a skill while earning a decent wage.
Finally, there is money. Union contractors’ hourly rates are competitive with nonunion contractors’ hourly rates, but wages paid by union contractors to their workers are typically about 25 percent more. These wages help support the local economy.
Today, more than ever, unions are vital to America’s middle class.
Joe Legard, Kennewick