Four Myths About Unions

by Sahid Fawaz

1. “Union workers are paid too much”

Fact: Employees in a unionized workplace only get paid what their employers agree to pay them. A collective bargaining agreement is not a unilateral document. It is a meeting of the minds by the union and the employer on wages and benefits, among other things. Employers are only required to bargain in good faith – they are not required to pay workers as much as they demand.

Often the reality is that non-union counterparts are paid too little, rather than the union workers being paid too much. 


2. “Unions drive business overseas”

Fact:  Private union membership has been declining for the last few decades, while, at the same time, businesses have sent more and more jobs overseas. If it was unions driving jobs overseas, then the low rate of union membership today would have resulted in a decrease of offshoring.

3. “We no longer need unions”

Fact: Unions provide real bargaining power for workers so that employers will bargain in good faith with workers on issues such as wages, benefits, and hours. Non-union workers often make less and work more hours than their union counterparts. They have little to no job security and are not afforded due process when it comes to employer actions against them. 

4. “Unions are controlled by labor bosses”

Fact: Unions are democratic organizations whose leaders are elected by their membership and/or delegates. These leaders are elected for specific terms and are subject to detailed procedures for removal should they not serve their membership correctly. In addition, federal labor laws regulate the actions of labor leaders, with civil and criminal penalties for violations. 


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