Image
Construction workers

Blog

The Case for Unions in 2017

In our rapidly-shifting and uncertain political landscape, the ability of unions to fulfill their responsibilities and protect their right to organize is absolutely critical. No worker should be put in a position to be exploited by their employer, and unions are the strongest line of defense in protecting fair pay, benefits and treatment in the workplace.

Photo of Jim Lingberg

Senior Vice President
Chief Trust Officer

Photo of Kevin Collins

First Vice President
Labor and Taft-Hartley

202-721-0760

Despite efforts to undermine collective bargaining across the country, labor unions remain the backbone of the modern workforce. They ensure workers are given the respect and benefits owed to them by their employers, and prevent exploitative practices from taking hold within an industry. Unions raise wages across the board, often helping drive wage increases even for non-union workers. According to the Economic Policy Institute, union members are also almost 30 percent more likely to have employer-provided health coverage, and pay 18 percent less in deductibles and family coverage costs. They also provide the vital political support behind legislative proposals to better protect workers.

Across the United States, workers’ rights face a renewed and sustained threat.

More than half of the country – 28 states – now have laws barring compulsory membership, robbing unions of critical and necessary collective bargaining rights and powers that allow for the protection of the physical and economic well-being of workers. This number may continue to rise, with protections likely to come under attack by emboldened state lawmakers in the coming months and years.

Given the current political climate, it is also very likely that in the next few years, unions will face these challenges to their rights on a federal scale. If the Supreme Court is successfully tipped to the right, victories such as last year’s deadlock in the Friedrichs case will grow farther and fewer between.

We face a harsh reality: beyond the courtrooms and legislative houses of the country, workers are struggling. Production continues to increase, even as wages remain stagnant. Working families are constantly being asked to do more with less, and many employers are fighting unions tooth and nail. Only about 11 percent of workers belong to a union – a number which continues to decrease year-over-year – making it all the more difficult to bargain effectively, and compel companies to offer fair and equitable benefits.

At Amalgamated Bank, we know the struggles and challenges of unions all too well. Our bank was founded nearly a century ago by workers, for workers, in an effort to help America’s working families find new avenues to economic opportunity, and to support the growing movement for workers’ rights and protections around the country. To this day, we continue to develop new products and services with labor in mind, hoping to do our part to help all workers establish a path to a brighter financial future.

Our current landscape is going to provide tremendous obstacles for workers and unions alike, and you deserve an ally in the fight who understands what they’re facing. Since our inception in 1923 by the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America, Amalgamated Bank has never shied away from defending the rights of workers. Whether it’s instituting a $15 wage for our employees – and helping pass the $15 wage into law in both New York and Washington, D.C. – or working through weekends to help unions keep striking members on the picket lines, we are committed to advancing the rights of working families.

Unions are an invaluable part of our workforce, which is why Amalgamated Bank offers a flagship product to our union clients, designed to help organizations focus more time on action, rather than management. For instance, our PledgeUp product includes tools to help with both recurring and one-time payment processing, storage of member payment status and history, and the collection of customized pledge cards on behalf of members. In addition, it offers tools to help with the creation of both digital and on-the-ground organizing campaigns, with innovative analytics and interactive maps to help outline and pinpoint the most effective canvassing areas.

Built from the ground up with the intent to make managing members and campaigns easier and more efficient, PledgeUp enhances record-keeping abilities, makes collecting dues simple, and assists organizers in communicating key information to their teams. The program complies with the highest industry standards of security, and never stores members’ sensitive personal or payment information.

A new political reality demands action, and Amalgamated Bank continues to stand as a partner to the country’s unions as you continue to fight on behalf of all workers. This fight is personal for us, because unions are at the cornerstone of our founding and DNA. You can trust that we at Amalgamated will never forget where we came from, and that history will always guide where we go in the future.