The Union Advantage
When we fight, we win!
"Having a Union means saying NO to harassment and bullying and building relations based on equality and respect."
"Having a union allows us to bring up workplace safety concerns without fear of getting in trouble—and that's important."
"We won health benefits and wage improvements and most importantly the power to stand up to management when necessary and address problems."
“We are here to work with respect and as a union we can fight for the sort of respect we deserve at work.”
A Voice in the Workplace
In a non-union workplace, all the terms and conditions of employment (wages, benefits, hours of work etc.) are determined unilaterally by the employer and subject to change without input from workers.
In a unionized workplace, workers and the employer negotiate the terms and conditions of work, which are then set out in a legally binding contract.
Better Wages and Benefits
Reports from Statistics Canada indicate that unionized workers earn significantly more than non-union workers. The same statistics show that unionized workers have better benefits, including sick leave, extended health and dental benefits, long term disability benefits, vacation time and pension plans. See chart for details.
Respect and Fair Treatment
In non-union workplaces, promotions, wages and other benefits are often determined by favouritism. In a unionized workplace, wage rates and benefits are negotiated for all workers equally. Job vacancies must be posted and the employer must consider applications equally with consideration given to seniority.
A union contract can strengthen job security considerably by restricting the contracting out of jobs, providing workers on lay-off with recall rights and by providing workers with protection from unjust disciplines and/or dismissal.
Safer and Healthier Workplaces
All too often, workers in non-union workplaces find it difficult to enforce their right to safe working conditions for fear of employer reprisals.
A union ensures workers are not punished for exercising their rights under the law. As a result, statistics show that unionized workplaces are much safer than non-union ones.
|Non-Union Cleaners||Unionized SEIU Cleaners|
|Health Benefits||The vast majority of workers have no health benefits, while those who do usually have to pay expensive monthly premiums.|
Benefits are Employer-controlled and NOT protected in a legally binding contract.
|The vast majority have health benefits that are protected in a legally binding contract.|
Many workers only pay a small monthly premium while other plans are entirely employer-paid.
The benefit plan is worker-controlled.
In most cases even part-time workers are included in health benefit plan.
Those who don’t qualify get a higher hourly wage in lieu of benefits.
|Wages & Pay Increases||Most workers are at minimum wage with no pathway to collectively fight for guaranteed yearly pay increases.|
Many make even less than minimum wage as a result of unethical subcontracting schemes.
|Guaranteed yearly wage increases!|
|Paid Personal Days and Sick Days||None||Yes! Most members enjoy paid personal days and can use them as paid sick days in some cases!|
|Pension Plan||None||Yes! A Pension Plan was won in the 2019 Toronto and Ottawa negotiations. Together we can organize to win a pension in other regions too.|
|Protections & Job Security in Contract Flips||None. Workers must re-apply to the new company and start as probationary employees.||Yes! In Ontario and British Colombia, unionized workers are protected when a contract flips at their worksite. In provinces where these legal rights don’t yet exist, with a union, we have the means to collectively stand-up for our jobs and union contract.|
|Leave of Absence||No guarantees. Leave is often based on favouritism and can be denied arbitrarily with no ability to challenge the decision.||Yes! Members have up to 6 weeks leave of absence that can be combined with their vacation time in most CBAs.|
Seniority and jobs are protected upon return to work.
|Enhanced Vacation Pay||No. Generally the legal minumum of 2 weeks (4%). |
Many make even less than the legal minimum as a result of unethical subcontracting schemes.
|Yes! With increased seniority, most members can earn up to 5 weeks of paid vacation (10%)!|
|Premiums for Lead Hand & Overnight Shifts||None||Yes!|
|Workload Protections||None. Workers need to complete tremendous amounts of work, often at an unsafe pace or face discipline including termination.||Yes! Workers have a way to fight back against unfair discipline as a result of unrealistic workloads.|