Non-Union vs. Union

Non-Union vs. Union

Without a Union

You are an “at will” employee. “At will” means that you can quit at any time, but you can also be fired at any time and without reason. The company has complete control over your job security.

Workers have NO control over:

  • Changes in wages
  • Probationary periods
  • Employment status – whether you’re a permanent, regular, or temporary employee, or whether you’re full-time, part-time, or casual
  • Job promotion
  • Hours of work
  • Reporting pay
  • Vacation
  • Holidays
  • Sick leave
  • Leave of absence, like jury duty, funeral leave or sick leave
  • Health insurance (medical, dental, vision)
  • Work opportunity
  • Discipline or firing
  • Severance pay
  • Work schedule
  • Pension

Workers have no real control over their pay, benefits or working conditions.

With a Union

You level the playing field by having a “collective bargaining agreement,” also called a “union contract.” You are no longer “at will” and cannot be fired at any time and/or without cause.

You have a say on your benefits and working conditions!

  • Workers do not stand alone!
  • You have a say on and can bargain over all the things listed above, and more.
  • You have representation in the workplace on all the things listed above, and more.
  • If the company violates your contract, you have the right to file a grievance. You have a grievance procedure and an arbitration procedure, if arbitration becomes necessary.
  • If you get hurt on the job, you have representation on Workers’ Compensation claims.
  • If the company violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – the national law governing unions and management – you have representation and the union may file “unfair labor practice charges” on your behalf.
  • If you get laid off, you have representation on unemployment compensation claims
  • You have representation on safety issues
  • And more!
To explore the origin of the word “Longshoremen,” we will begin with the roots of the ILA. The roots of the International Longshoremen’s Association lie deep in the history of colonial America when the arrival of each new ship bearing goods from the Old World was greeted with cries for “Men ‘long shore!” The longshoremen who rushed up to the ships were colonists, normally engaged in any number of full-time occupations. In the first hard years of life in this country, they left their occupations freely to unload the anxiously awaited, sometimes desperately needed, supplies without pay. As the new land began to develop a fledgling economy, and the ships were too many to count, the men were drawn to the shores by the extra money they could earn stevedoring precious cargo on and off the ships.
As the nation matured, European imperialism gave birth to exploitative mercantilist trade practices. Land was no longer cheap or easy to get, and many new immigrants congregated in the cities, hoping to find work amid the bustle, especially along the coast, where the bulk of the growing country’s business was still being done. The number of professional longshoremen grew by thousands.