There were 56,500 union members working in and around the Waterloo Region in 2013, about 23% of the local workforce. Those workers earned, on average, $5.68/hour more because their unions got them fair wages and work hours.
Unions make a difference both at work and in the quality of life you earn. We call that difference the union advantage.
Having a union on your side makes your job and your workplace safer and fairer. You get paid better and are more likely to have benefits that help you balance work with life at home. Your health and ability to do your job become important, and your right to fair treatment gets enforced.
The Canadian Labour Congress is releasing this study to show just how much better the union advantage truly is – both nationally and in 50 communities across the country. This study shows that on average, unionized workers across Canada earn $5.17/hour more than non-union workers, that women with unions earn more ($6.89/hour) and get paid more fairly, and that young workers (aged 14 to 24) earn more when they work under the protection of a collective agreement.
But this advantage doesn’t just belong to union members. It benefits everyone.
Workers in unions are an important part of the local community and economy because that’s where they spend their paycheques. Their incomes support local businesses (who create local jobs) and bolster the local tax base, which supports public works and community services that add to everyone’s quality of life.
The benefits enjoyed by unionized workers (dental insurance, extended health care coverage and legal insurance, to name a few) attract and support dentists, opticians, chiropractors, therapists, health specialists, and family lawyers whose services are available to everyone in the community.
When unions stand up for fairness, they raise the bar for everyone. Many of the things first won by unions are enjoyed by all workers today – minimum wages, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, maternity and parental leave, vacation pay, and protection from discrimination and harassment.