July 3, 1835 2000 workers, many of whom are children, from 20 textile mills in Paterson, NJ, went on strike. They demanded 11 hour days (down from 13.5 hours). Employers refused to negotiate and broke the strike by declaring a reduction in work hours to twelve hours daily during the week and nine hours on Saturdays. ~ Voices of Labor
Unions such as Teamsters Local 992 have played and continue to play a great role in balancing the scales for working people. It is a documented and statistical fact that corporate America has benefited from the economy while income equalities continue for working Americans.
That is why more and more workers are joining unions. Union membership in 1999 rose by more than 265,000 new members, the largest increase in 20 years. The labor movement has fought hard to secure many benefits that are now enjoyed by workers across the nation. A few examples are ...
The 40-hour work week
The 8-hour day
Employer-paid health insurance
Paid time off for vacations and holidays
Safety and health protections
There are other things that you cannot put a price tag on: Dignity, respect, a real voice ion the job, and betterment for working families.
At Will vs Just Cause
In the State of Maryland employees not covered by a union contact can be terminated for any reason, or for no reason at all. However, employees covered by a union contract can only be terminated for proven just cause. Simple words, but they mean a lot. It means that the employer can not arbitrarily terminate an employee.
In your copy of the union contract you will find information about the grievance and arbitration procedures that spell out what needs to be done when an employee believes that h/she is being disciplined unfairly by an employer.