Union Fact & Fiction


Fiction:

Unions are outside, special-interest groups.

 

Fact:

A union is the workers. A union is simply a democratic organization of working people standing up for their rights on the job and in society. Unions also bring people together in the community to stand up for issues that matter to all working people.


Fact:

Unions help resolve conflict and can make the workplace more peaceful and productive. A union contract allows the company and workers to sit down as equals and discuss problems as they come up. Clearly defined terms and conditions of employment lead to increased stability in the workplace because everyone’s expectations are defined. Without a union, workers’ lives are often in more turmoil because they don't have the security of a collective bargaining agreement or a grievance procedure to deal with disputes. 

 

Fiction:

Unions mean more conflict in the workplace.


Fact:

Companies close for economic reasons—and the vast majority of companies that close are non-union. However, some companies like to promote this fiction by illegally threatening workers who attempt to form a union with closing the company. Studies actually show that unions help companies by decreasing employee turnover and increasing productivity.

Fiction:

Unions cause companies to close.


Fact:

Unions are not for-profit organizations. Money that workers pay in dues goes into running the organization, primarily in the form of representation. Dues levels are set by each local union through a democratic process. The gains workers see in pay, benefits, and fair treatment thanks to their unions are far greater than the small cost of union dues.

Fiction:

Unions just want workers’ dues.


Fact:

It’s a tragic situation when a trusted leader betrays the membership in any kind of organization. However, for the handful of high-profile stories that are in the media about corrupt union leaders, there are thousands of regular, honest leaders who are never profiled, and positive stories that don't make headlines. Sadly, what most people know about unions, they only know from negative press, not from the good, important work they do every day. USWU is proud to have responsible leadership that has never been linked to any form of corruption.

 

Fiction:

Most union bosses are corrupt.


Fact:

Actually, union membership has remained steady for the past 50 years, but the workforce itself has grown. Today, 14.5 million working men and women in the United States are union members. USWU is unique in that our membership numbers continue to grow.

Fiction:

Unions are in decline.


Fact:

Unions are not about politics. Unions’ work involves fighting for good contracts, helping workers improve their lives, and standing up for all working families. Some would say that work includes supporting pro-worker political candidates and legislation that helps working people and their unions achieve these goals. While USWU limits its political involvement to the local level, many unions are more politically active. However, it is not about electing Democrats or Republicans—it’s about supporting those who stand up for the rights and best interests of working people.

Fiction:

Unions are political organizations that work to elect Democrats.


Fact:

Workers vote whether or not to strike. Strikes get a lot of attention, but ninety-nine percent of contract negotiations are settled without a strike. No one ever wants a strike and it is always a last resort.

Fiction:

Unions force workers out on strike often.