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The Pros and Cons of Accepting Union Jobs

Unions are synonymous with certain professions: teachers, the automotive industry, airlines and many others. Recently, unions have sprung back into the news. Earlier this year the Chicago Teachers’ Union went on strike, and recent legislation in Michigan is looking to make the state the 24th in the country with right-to-work legislation. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of union jobs.

First thing’s first: what is a union job? Merriam-Webster defines a labor union as, “an organization of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members’ interests in respect to wages, benefits and working conditions.”

Now that we know what a labor union is, we can go about providing some of the positives and negatives of accepting a job with a union, courtesy of FOX Business.

One benefit of labor unions are the actual benefits they provide workers. Since they operate in order to seek better working conditions, unions also actively seek to ensure members get above average benefits packages for themselves and their families. Union workers also make more money on average than non-union workers. Finally, there is increased job security for union workers who have the benefit of the union on their side, and whom must be shown ‘just cause’ in order to be terminated.

However, there are also some drawbacks to union membership as well. First, union jobs tend to hire less workers in order to keep benefits and pay high for workers. Additionally, unions tend to foster a seniority focused environment- which means that upward mobility will likely take place very linearly. Non-union jobs give workers a better chance to skip over a boss, if that worker shows greater potential and promise. Instead, unions tend to favor the food chain hierarchy. Some may say there is a greater feeling of cohesiveness and teamwork amongst non-union employees than amongst union groups because of this.

There are, as with almost all jobs, pluses and minuses to labor union membership. Before accepting a union position, reflect on what is important to you at the moment. For some, it may be the job security, higher starting wages and benefits a union can provide. Others may be more interested in the flexibility and individuality often associated with non-union jobs.

What are your thoughts on union jobs? Share with us in the comments section below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by samantha celera

Jen Schiller

Jen works as a Marketing Project Manager for a restaurant, a kitchen assistant for cooking classes, helps with database management, does some freelance writing, and more. She received her B.A. from the University of Maryland in Government & Politics in 2011. Currently, she resides in the Washington, D.C. area and is an avid sports fan.