As 2023 sees a nationwide union movement sweep across industries, the US Treasury Department released a report concluding that unions are positive for economic growth and the well-being of the middle class.
In the report, the government publicized the benefits these unions can offer workers, noting that unions raise their members’ wages by 10 to 15 percent and reduce overall income inequality.
In 17 of 21 job types, union members earn more weekly wages than non-union members, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data cited in the Treasury Department report. The exceptions are four types of occupations that are typically non-union: management; sales; business and finance; and computers and mathematics.
Beyond wages, unions have helped improve worker safety, the report says. For example, after passage of the union-backed 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act, the rate of nonfatal work-related injuries and illnesses fell almost four-fold from 1972 to 2018, from 11 cases to three cases per 100 full-time workers, the report said, citing BLS officials. Data.
Unions are also improving workplace benefits and practices such as pension schemes, workplace grievance policies and predictable scheduling, the report says, with the department emphasizing that “these workplace improvements contribute significantly to the financial stability of the middle class and the well-being of workers. For example, one study estimated that the average worker values their ability to avoid last-minute roster changes at up to 20 percent of their wages.
These unions brought major victories to logistics workers this summer: 340,000 UPS workers and West Coast dockers negotiated new contracts that increase their wages and provide various benefits. For example, UPS drivers represented by Teamsters negotiated a deal to add air conditioning to their vehicles, while dockers received a “hero bonus” for working during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The victories extended beyond the United States, and longshoremen on Canada’s west coast also signed their own new jobs after a 13-day strike.
According to a recent Gallup poll of 1,014 adults, 67 percent of Americans currently support unions. But support is gaining momentum among younger viewers. According to a GBAO opinion poll conducted on behalf of the AFL-CIO, the largest union federation in the US, 88 percent of under-30s say they support unions, while 90 percent say they support strikes.
Other attempts at unionization came at Amazon, where a Staten Island warehouse won the right to organize with the Amazon Labor Union in 2022.
And in late August, 26 workers at ECM Transport, a trucking company majority-owned by Werner Enterprises, voted to form unions at three New Jersey plants.
The workers, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), are just a fraction of Werner’s more than 14,000 employees. But the move caught the attention of Werner CEO Derek Leathers, who was visiting workers ahead of the vote. During the visit, Leathers presented the trucking company’s arguments against unionization.
The Treasury Department’s report comes just three days after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) introduced a new framework to determine when employers are required to negotiate with unions without an election for representation.
The new framework means that companies found to have committed unlawful acts during union elections will be forced to negotiate with the union immediately rather than hold the election again.
Long delays and appeals processes have resulted in union election certificates being dragged on, for example at Amazon, which is still hearing objections to a repeat election at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama in early 2022. Amazon, too, has still not acknowledged ALU’s victory in Staten Island and has refused to negotiate with the group.
The framework stems from a case where cement truck drivers from the construction company Cemex collected majority votes in the form of union empowerment cards to stand in a union election. At that point, the board stated that Cemex had committed 20 counts of offensive or unlawful conduct leading up to The Election.
Employees represented by Teamsters lost by a vote of 179 to 166, but instead of ordering a snap election, the NLRB ordered Cemex to negotiate with the union.
The new framework, issued a day after the board also lifted union election delays under the Trump administration, aims to shorten the time and processes from filing a union election application to the election and to resolve post-election disputes more quickly.
The Biden-Harris administration has taken several steps to spur union progress, including the creation of the White House Task Force on Organizing and Empowering Workers, which will work with agencies on ways to use their existing statutory powers to support workers’ organizing and – to use negotiations.
In the 2022 Omnibus Act, passed last December, the administrative budget increased funding for the NLRB by 9 percent, or $25 million. This was the first increase since 2014 and is intended to allow the Board to strengthen and broaden its enforcement efforts.
https://sourcingjournal.com/topics/labor/unions-treasury-department-wages-labor-middle-class-nlrb-werner-trucking-election-framework-voting-bls-453249/ Unions are good for US economy, says Treasury Department – Sourcing Journal