Joining a labor union has its ups and downs, and many people do not like the idea of paying union dues out of their paycheck every week. But, there are some benefits to being part of the union that you may not know about that may be good for you and your family.
The first one is the most obvious one. Union shops typically pay their employees more than non-union shops because the union negotiates that pay scale and fights to get you more per hour for the work you perform. You will have to take some of the additional income out for the union dues and fees, but if the pay scale is high enough in your area, the offset can be worth it.
While not every shop pays the same amount to their techs, the union keeps the floor in the pricing structure so that you never worry about the pay dropping below a set level. Bigger shops may exceed the starting price and even top pay scales of other union shops because they work on larger jobs with more profit. They can then share that profit with the employees that help them get the work done for the clients.
Insurance and Benefits
If you work for a small, non-union HVAC shop, you may not have a lot of benefits, if you have any at all. Often, the union shops offer more benefits, and the basic insurance and benefits package is negotiated for members by the union in the area. The shops that have union workers in them have to offer those employees these benefits, or they risk the employees or union fighting back.
When health and life insurance benefits are the issues, having an organization to fight for them is good for you. If you have a family, the benefits may be more important to you than the wage you are making.
Job and Legal Support
Union members have the ability to go to the union representative in their area if they are having trouble on the job or have a legal issue they are concerned about. In some cases, a union member fired from a job may have more support from the union to help fight a wrongful termination or to get a job elsewhere than a non-union member does. That support may include a lawyer that the union pays for and financial help while you are off the job.
All of these things depend greatly on the union you are part of and their strength in the area where you are working, so talk to other members if you are considering joining, and see what they have to say about the union in that area. You can also speak with an HVAC contractor union recruitment representative for more information.