Union Members Get More, and Here’s Why

We often say “Union Members Get More!” because it’s true.

For example, an average Union worker’s total compensation is $10.62 per hour higher than a non-Union worker’s.

This adds up to big money over the course of a lifetime. In fact, a full-time member could earn $662,688 more than a non-Union worker earns over a 30-year career.

And this doesn’t include holiday and vacation pay, workplace guarantees and many other perks of membership.

All this is possible because Unions are about giving power to working people.

In the spirit of solidarity, we bring workers together so they can stand up for themselves and negotiate as equals with the giant corporations which employ them.

Through the collective bargaining process, we negotiate contracts with employers to protect and promote the interests of working people, who really are the force behind economic growth in our country.

Beyond the substantial differences in wages I described above, here are a few additional examples of how your Union negotiated contract makes your career and your living standards better than “normal”:

Equal pay for equal work

Technically, it’s against the law for companies to pay their workers differently according to gender, race, ethnicity or other arbitrary distinctions which have nothing to do with a worker’s job performance.

Unfortunately, reality has a long way to go before it catches up to the ideal set by law. Women and racial minorities especially feel the sting when equal pay does not come with equal work.

Fortunately, our Union-negotiated contract provides legally binding guarantees of wage standards for all. Every Union member knows exactly what to expect, based entirely on job classification and experience. If any discrimination exists, we will enforce the contract vigorously.


Most working Americans have Social Security or an equivalent. This maintains a minimum standard which might not guarantee one’s ability to retire with security, but it can supplement other sources of retirement income to enable people to barely get by.

For Union members, though, it’s not enough to barely get by. Our contracts provide retirement plans which supplement Social Security and ensure financial security and dignity into our later years.

Health care

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires large employers to provide health care packages to their full-time employees and their families. While they are much better than no health care, these plans can’t compare with the high-quality, comprehensive and low-cost packages you enjoy as a member of UFCW 8-Golden State.

Workplace guarantees

Employees without a Union contract are “at will,” which means managers can discipline them or even fire them in most situations with little or no recourse. There’s nothing to stop a boss from terminating an employee simply because he or she earns more than a less-experienced employee at a non-Union workplace.

Fortunately, Union workers are protected by strong contracts which enforce fairness and equal treatment. Your manager is not allowed to deny you work hours simply because he or she has a friend who is getting those hours instead.

Your Union contract’s grievance procedure means you are entitled to a hearing if you are being mistreated or if you are accused unfairly of breaking the rules.

Protections against harassment

We’re hearing a lot these days about sexual harassment and bullying on the job. Should you be affected, please contact your Union Representative immediately.

Your Union membership means you have a powerful and effective ally in correcting injustice. Those who don’t have a Union usually have to go it alone, regardless of what the law says.

None of these protections and benefits come to you as gifts from your employer, and government doesn’t always succeed in getting you what you deserve from your job.

The members of UFCW 8-Golden State have earned it all by sticking together and demanding more than the minimum standards required by government or the free market.

Solidarity Works!

Our Union Family Steps Up

Members respond to tragedy with compassion, generosity
In times of sadness, we are comforted and inspired by the ways our Union family responded to the tragic events of recent months.
Together, we witnessed a senseless act of mass violence in Las Vegas, followed by the terrible loss of life, property and jobs in fires throughout Northern California.
Almost simultaneously, our fellow Americans suffered through devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

Our members reacted to each of these tragedies with life-affirming generosity.

This is especially evident closest to home. When Secretary-Treasurer Kirk Vogt and I went to Santa Rosa to assess the damage caused by the fires, we were moved deeply by the spirit of our members who lost everything. Through the pain, they focused on the positive side: healing and rebuilding.
When faced with their own seemingly unbearable challenges, they showed their concern for others and their willingness to help each other.

A common comment from those who lost all their material possessions was “It was just stuff.”
In the fires’ aftermath, we were continually reminded of the bonds which connect us to each other and our Union.

We experienced the compassion of our members on a daily basis. When our District Union Representatives (DURs) entered stores in fire-ravaged areas, members immediately asked them, “How are YOU doing?” and “Did YOU lose anything?” These are questions our DURs typically ask the members.

Our representatives worked long days and nights to find the whereabouts of members and determine whether they lost a home and needed shelter or any other kind of assistance.

The DURs and office staff provided valuable information, advising and directing members to the resources available to them. Just as important, they were ready to listen when someone needed to talk about his or her experiences.

The Union website, UFCW8.org, also provided information about assistance available to fire victims.
We’ve witnessed many acts of generosity — to our members as well as store supervisors, managers, vendors, drivers, sales staff and other affected individuals in our industry.

We thank UFCW International President Marc Perrone, our International Union, our sister UFCW Local Unions, the UFCW Northern California Trust Fund employees and our service providers for their generous donations to the UFCW 8-Golden State Disaster Relief Fund.

We also recognize our employers who stepped up — whether it was Safeway paying for housing for nearly two weeks for evacuated employees, or Foster Farms donating $100,000 to a local food bank, or Petaluma Poultry, Save Mart/Lucky, Rite Aid, Raley’s or our other independent retailers providing their assistance to those in need.

Of course, we want to thank the first responders — the firefighters, police and medical personnel who risked their own lives to protect people they’ve never met.

We are one family

In sad times and happier times, Union members don’t lose sight of who we are and why we’re here: people banding together for the common good.

We don’t care about your family background, the color of your skin, how old you are, whom you worship (or don’t), or the language you speak. We march together and won’t stop until everyone can share in the bounty of our amazing country.

This is why, in our Union, we call each other Sisters and Brothers. We are family.

Solidarity Works!

Jacques Loveall

Jacques Loveall
President, UFCW 8-Golden State
Vice President, UFCW International Union
Chairman, Loveall Foundation for Children

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