The Union Difference

Having a voice on the job means better pay and benefits, a secure retirement, and more. Our union gives us a say in our wages, working conditions, safety, and staffing levels. Together, OSEA members are improving our schools and supporting our communities.

Here are some ways unions make a difference in the lives of working people:

Higher Wages

Union-represented workers earn 11% more, on average, than workers in similar jobs, even with similar levels of education and experience.

Health Care

More than 90 percent of workers covered by a union contract have access to employer-sponsored health benefits, compared to just 69 percent of nonunion workers.

Paid Sick Leave

The vast majority of union workers – 93 percent  – have access to paid sick days, compared to 75 percent of nonunion workers.

Reducing Discrimination

Unions help close the gender pay gap and ensure equitable pay for women and people of color. We collectively bargain transparent wages and pay scales that apply to all workers in the same jobs.

Health & Safety

Union members can negotiate for safer workplaces. We also have greater protections against retaliation if we report workplace safety and health concerns. As a direct result, enforcement of safety and health laws is stronger at union workplaces.

Lifting Up All Workers

Union members don’t just look out for ourselves, we build up our entire communities

  • States with higher union membership invest more in education and healthcare.
  • All workers, regardless of union status, make 15.2 percent more in areas with high union membership.
  • Workplace fatalities are lower, and life expectancy is nearly two years longer in states with high union membership.
37 Reasons to Thank a Union (PDF)