Unions serve four absolutely essential functions in our society.
- Gains for workers through collective bargaining
The primary function of unions is to unite workers and give them the strength together that they would not have facing their employer alone. Through collective bargaining, workers negotiate better working conditions, wages and benefits. Collective bargaining works!
Through collective bargaining we get results for workers:
- Decent wages
- Safer working conditions
- Health, dental and vision benefits
- Protection from harassment
- Parental leave top-up
- Elder care and bereavement leave
- Pension and retirement benefits
- Long-term disability
- Vacation above the minimum
- Sick leave
- Gains that benefit all workers
The positive impact of unions is felt by more than just union members. By opposing the erosion of rights and fighting for better labour laws, unions improve the working conditions of non-unionized workers as well. Everybody benefits.
Every gain that unions make raises standards for all workers. New gains happen every day:
- Health and safety laws
- Parental leave
- Basic employment standards
- Pay equity
- Same-sex benefits
- The 8-hour day and the weekend
- Minimum wages
- Vacation standards and statutory holidays
- Anti-harassment laws
- A voice in your workplace
- Helping to build a more just society
Unions also advance the values of change, social progress and economic fairness. Unions contribute to a more just and inclusive economy, and a stronger middle class. They also protect and promote quality services for everyone.
Unions advocate for new and better services for all:
- The Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security
- Human rights laws
- Quality public services like education, health care, and child care
- Services in support of healthy communities like waste management, clean water, public health and social services
- Employment insurance and other supports for workers
- Fighting setbacks to democracy and solidarity
Today, our social progress and economic fairness are seriously threatened. Many governments are attacking the ability of unions to organize and represent their members, and to support broader issues of democracy and social justice.
Some politicians want to undermine your ability to bargain collectively by taking away your union’s right to collect dues from all members, or by stopping us from taking political action. Our action helps create laws that benefit working people, and if the politicians succeed, everyone will be worse off.
For all these reasons, the Unite for Fairness project is one of CUPE’s top priorities for the coming years.
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