On the fence about whether or not to join a construction union? Don’t even know what a construction union is? Interested to learn about what a construction union can do for you?
Click through to get all the facts and find out how you can potentially benefit from a construction union.
What is a construction union?
A construction union is an organized group of laborers whether it be carpenters, masons, plumbers, etc. that come together to create an association whose mission is to further the rights and protection of said group and their purpose.
How do they work?
Most unions function like a democracy. There are elected leaders and officials that get voted in to make the larger decisions for the good of the union. Unions can represent either an entire industry (like construction) or they can be more specialized (like painters).
Where are these unions?
Unions can operate on both a local or state level. More often than not, a local level union acts as an extension or a charter of a national level union. Some of the most notable construction unions are the Laborers’ International Union of North America, The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, and The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.
What do they do?
Unions provide several things for its members. One of the biggest benefits to joining a union is job security. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for a labor union member in 2014 was $28 compared to their non-union counterpart who earns $18. Additionally, if one is just starting out in the construction industry or wants to specialize their skills many construction unions offer many apprenticeships for their members. Lastly, one can greatly benefit from the health plans that many construction unions offer for their members and the members’ families.
But aren’t construction unions on the decline?
Of late, there have been a number of reports that claim that construction union membership is going extinct. However, the number has actually been in a state of fluctuation for some time. In 2012, 14% of construction workers identified as union members. By 2014, the number dropped to 13.2% however, the number is back on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that 2017 actually saw an increase back to 14%.
Are there any drawbacks to joining a union?
One of the biggest drawbacks to joining a construction union are the initiation fees and dues. The dues and fees usually go towards paying the salaries of the elected officials within the union and other union expenses. Fees can be upwards of hundreds of dollars and can often be annually due depending on the union. Others feel that another drawback to joining a union is loss of control and authority.
So why join a union then?
The biggest reason to join a union is that the majority of large public jobs often require the hiring of union workers. The other extremely beneficial reason to join a union as opposed to being an independent laborer, is the assurance of safety. Conditions on a unionized jobsite are much stricter and heavily enforced compared to a non union jobsite.
So¦ what did you learn?
It’s clear that there are pros and cons to joining a construction union. There isn’t a right or wrong answer necessarily, if you’re still on the fence about whether or not to join a union ask yourself, “do the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?” It may take some time to come to a conclusion but now, at least you have all the facts.