Why unions are good for the middle and lower class
Information Compiled by: AFL-CIOUnion Workers Have Better Health Care and Pensions
Union workers are more likely than their nonunion counterparts to receive health care and pension benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1999, 73 percent of union workers in private industry participated in medical care benefits, compared with only 51 percent of nonunion workers. Union workers also are more likely to have retirement and short-term disability benefits.
As the chart below illustrates, 79 percent of union workers are covered by pension plans versus 44 percent of nonunion workers. Seventy percent of union workers have defined-benefit retirement coverage, compared with 16 percent of nonunion workers. (Defined-benefit plans are federally insured and provide a guaranteed monthly pension amount. They are better for workers than defined-contribution plans, in which the benefit amount depends on how well the underlying investments perform.) UNION WORKERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO HAVE
HEALTH AND PENSION BENEFITS, 1999
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employee Benefits in Private Industry, 1999. USDL: 01-473. Dec. 19, 2001. Prepared by the AFL-CIO.
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Videos on labor and union history
Berkley University: Labor and Labor History Videography. THIRTY SIX pages of videos on the labor movement.
Merrimack Films: Producer and Distributor of Videos on Labor Relations
American Labor Studies: Finding media on unions and the history of unions(Military union busting was very common for much of the late 19th and early 20th century, read Zinn's book: A People's History of the United States for more on this subject. Zinn, in his book recommends Philip Foner's History of the Labor Movement in the U.S.)
Another book which describes ten labor struggles before the 1930's: American Labor Struggles
by Samuel Yellen, recommended by Zinn in Declarations of Independence: Cross Examining American Ideology
(History of unions moved here)