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Being in a union means you could make $1.3 million more over your lifetime

Original Article written by Juliana Kaplan and Madison Hoff for Business Insider

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People march in the middle of East Pine Street during the “Fight Starbucks’ Union Busting” rally and march in Seattle, Washington on April 23, 2022. Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images
  • A new paper looks at the impact of being in a union throughout your entire career.
  • The authors found that being in a union means a $1.3 million bump to lifetime earnings.
  • Being a career-long union member can have the same value as a college degree.

If you want to make a million more dollars over your lifetime, there’s one solution: Join a union.

That’s according to a new paper in Cornell University’s ILR Review. Researchers Zachary Parolin of Bocconi University and Tom VanHeuvelen of University of Minnesota Twin Cities examined the advantages of being part of a union throughout your entire career. 

“We find that a person who spent the entirety of their career in a labor union were predicted to earn about a million dollars more over the course of their career compared to somebody who was never in a labor union,” VanHeuvelen told Insider.

To quantify the impact of unionization on lifetime earnings, they used the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which tracks some Americans every several years. The researchers zoomed in on men who would’ve been in their late 20s in the 1960s and 1970s, and tracked their earnings through retirement as well as whether or not they were union members.

The result was the $1.3 million premium for workers who spent their whole careers in unions, even though those workers were more likely to retire earlier. Workers who are never in a union were projected to earn around $2.1 million their whole careers, while those who were in unions for their whole careers were estimated to make $3.4 million.

Union households tend to have over $100,000 more in wealth than nonunion families, Federal Reserve data shows

It’s long been clear that union members make more than their non-unionized peers. In 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, non-unionized workers made just 83% of unionized workers’ wages — but the study shows the long-term effects of a career spent as a union member. The data also comes after decades of American wealth becoming more and more concentrated at the top, as union membership tumbled and continues to drop.

“All this research that has been done shows that unions are really important for inequality, and that the demise of unions is a really important contributor to this growth of economic inequality and economic polarization,” VanHeuvelen said.

Workers without college degrees particularly benefit from career-long union membership. In fact, a worker without a college degree who has been in a union for 100% of his career is actually expected to make more than a non-union worker with a college degree.

That’s significant, especially with the “college premium” that higher education affords for lifetime earnings. Going to college is still one of the most reliable ways to boost how much money you’ll make, although many borrowers then come up against thousands — and sometimes hundreds of thousands — of dollars in student loan debt. But unionization rates have declined over time, and that spells bad news for workers without a college degree.

“If suddenly the United States lost the college premium, that would be a disaster,” VanHeuvelen said. “A lot of newspaper articles would be written about that. But it seems like we’ve lost something equivalent for America’s working class.”

There are some signs of life in the previously small labor movement. Union approval is at its highest since 1965, according to Gallup survey results. Workers have been pushing back for over a year, sparking a crop of unions in places like StarbucksAmazon, and Chipotle. The number of union representation petitions filed in fiscal year 2022 increased by 53%, according to the National Labor Relations Board. But all of that is still coming up against low union membership rates and other organizing challenges.

“The process of de unionization that’s occurred over the last half century or so has really undermined an important second channel through which people could find a path of upward economic attainment,” VanHeuvelen said.

Being in a union means you could make $1.3 million more over your lifetime Read More »

Bimbo bakery drivers show up in force for proposal meeting on Saturday.

Bimbo bakery drivers showed up in force for their proposal meeting this past Saturday. It was a good meeting that covered a wide range of topics, including Health and welfare, pension, pay, increases in sick days, company discipline, and the company not paying employees on time.

Special thank you to Stewards Carlos from San Leandro and Eddy from Concord for helping run the meeting and making sure that every voice was heard! Stay tuned as this negotiation plays out.

Bimbo bakery drivers show up in force for proposal meeting on Saturday. Read More »

Lets do this right Now

Today is your day. Your ballot should have arrived by now at your house.

There is a reason why so many truck drivers in our Country are in a union, because they know its life changing for the better.

So no matter how much attention, and begging. and insincere letters they send you now that you have them scared, the fact is that if you vote UNION YES, you have just secured a better life for you and your family.

Corporations are beholden to their shareholders and are required to maximize profits. That is what you are up against. They see you as a source of profit so they want to cut your pay and benefits. Without a Union contract, you are against the shareholder without any way to push back.

So VOTE YES and mail your ballot back today, right now.

Need proof? It’s right here: teamsters853.org

Look at our website and see what we do day in and day out. On the home page are stories of what we do and the victories we win EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Let’s do this together, and knock it out of the park, and let those shareholders and management know you are worth more than they will ever give you willingly.

Ray Torres and the entire Teamster Local 853 staff and the 13,000 members we represent.

Lets do this right Now Read More »

Kick-off meeting at Driscoll’s – discussion around pension, health care, and the upcoming ratification vote

Teamsters 853 held a kickoff meeting this week with Bill Quinteros who presented pension benefits along with Teamster 853 President Steven Lua who reviewed heath care benefits. Driscolls contract negotiations will be finished in the next couple of weeks. Members at Driscolls will then be voting soon thereafter on whether or not to accept the contract offer. Stay tuned for the next round.

Kick-off meeting at Driscoll’s – discussion around pension, health care, and the upcoming ratification vote Read More »

Teamsters 853 knows what is fair and what is not because we represent The four largest companies in the food service industry! They all get better pay, benefits, and job protection than non-union employees.

The reason why the company will never pay you what you are worth without the Union is because they can divide you one at a time, and you will never know how much you left on the table. And you have no leverage if you don’t act as one group.

But we do. The Teamsters know exactly how much is on the table, and we will get it for you just like all of the drivers from all these other Food Delivery Driver companies.

Listen to Marcus From PFG in Gilroy. They went Union and just got their first contract this March, which was very good for wages, benefits and job protections. In the end, 100% of the drivers voted for the contract- it was that good!!

  • This Driver, Marcus, at PFG in Gilroy explains how they got a great wage increase which was a given because they acted as a group, but the contract was more important because it gives them rights and protections on the job they never had before to hold management accountable.
  • He also saw how the company tried to grab a few drivers and treated them really well to stop the Union, but in the end, even those drivers voted YES for their unbelievably good contract.
  • The company outright lied to their face, but it didn’t work.
  • Look at other operations that have gone Union in the Bay Area
  • Significant improvements in benefits, wages, and job protection were all there for these drivers, and they can be for you, too!!

Teamsters 853 knows what is fair and what is not because we represent The four largest companies in the food service industry! They all get better pay, benefits, and job protection than non-union employees. Read More »

Teamster 853 Members at Alhambra Water Engage in Practice Picketing after voting unanimously to authorize a strike

Members at Alhambra Water voted unanimously to authorize a strike and engaged in practice picketing yesterday morning at four Bay Area locations. Progress of negotiations has been very slow with Alhambra and there have been several key areas that Alhamabra is refusing to recognize.

The members are being paid below the industry standard for the work they do, and the company has continually tried to change company policy affecting members without member involvement.

There is no win-win with these tactics, so members are fed up, and rightly so. They may have to use their ace in the hole and strike, just to get whats fair.

Teamster 853 Members at Alhambra Water Engage in Practice Picketing after voting unanimously to authorize a strike Read More »

Teamsters Reyes Coca-Cola Ratifies new contract and operations changes by an overwhelming 93% YES Vote

This past Saturday, Teamsters Locals 70, 315, 896, and 853 voted by a margin of 370-29 to ratify a new contract and an extensive change of operations agreement. This was a long and complex contract that incorporated many moving parts, including the restructuring of territories in the Bay Area.

Shout out to our Coca-Cola stewards, Jerry Trujillo and Jason Aguilar, and everyone who participated in the decision-making committees.

Special thanks to Pete Lamb, International Representative of the Brewery Soft Drink division, for bringing everything together in the dark hours before dawn (literally)!

Teamsters Reyes Coca-Cola Ratifies new contract and operations changes by an overwhelming 93% YES Vote Read More »

Skilled union workers from Teamsters Local 853 delivered the first sustainable, low-emission vehicle fleet to ABQ RIDE in New Mexico.

GILLIG, America’s premier heavy-duty transit bus manufacturer, built by skilled unionized workers represented by Teamsters Local 853, proudly announces the delivery of the first batch of 35 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses to ABQ RIDE in Albuquerque, with plans for an additional 18 buses later in 2024. This milestone highlights the collaboration between GILLIG and its dedicated union workforce.  

“Our members at GILIG, with the strong support of the stewards committee, have just ratified a historic contract with the company.” Said Teamsters 853 Secretary-Treasurer and GILIG Business Agent Steve Beck. “They are at the forefront of the low-emission vehicle industry and take pride in contributing towards a sustainable future. We were delighted to hear about the ABQ RIDE delivery and are excited to see more Teamster-built vehicles hitting the road soon.”

Skilled union workers from Teamsters Local 853 delivered the first sustainable, low-emission vehicle fleet to ABQ RIDE in New Mexico. Read More »

TEAMSTERS ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE CA 2024 PRIMARY – MARCH 5TH

Sisters and Brothers,

One of the most powerful tools we have for gaining strong contracts against greedy corporations is our numbers at the ballot box.

To protect the hard-earned gains in our contracts, it is critical that we elect politicians who share our values. Electing officials who have our backs will ensure companies will not be allowed to roll back the standards we have raised in wages, benefits, and pensions.
Protect yourself, your family, and our union – Vote for these union-friendly officials!

TEAMSTERS ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE CA 2024 PRIMARY – MARCH 5TH Read More »