Union Workers Make $7.15 More than Non-Union Workers
THUNDER BAY – The full court press of the labour movement in Thunder Bay and across Ontario is focusing in on the city. Today, the Canadian Labour Congress is releasing a report on the impact of union wages in Thunder Bay along with seventy-six other Canadian cities.
Researchers at the Canadian Labour Congress report that on average unionized workers in Thunder Bay earn $7.15 an hour more than do non-union workers.
CLC president Hassan Yussuff says that benefits everyone, “The extra earnings by unionized employees translate into an added $7.19 million every week paid into the local community.”
CLC researchers surveyed wages in 76 Canadian metropolitan and other census areas. They discovered that in Ontario unionized workers earn an average of $6.42 an hour more than their non-union counterparts, which puts an extra $366.22 million a week into the provincial economy.
“We are proud of the contributions our members have made to build a stronger middle class and a more secure economy for everyone who lives here,” stated Yussuff.
The report comes as Unifor workers have voted down a contract offer from Bombardier with 80% of the workers saying no to the proposed deal. At a rally at Thunder Bay City Hall on Monday, representatives from labour unions across the city joined with the striking Unifor workers.
At issue according to Unifor is the future of manufacturing jobs in the city.
Earned Local, Spent Local
The CLC researchers also found that centres with more union members support a richer mix of businesses and services. “Union members spend their pay cheques close to home and that helps local businesses, Yussuff says. “We bolster the tax base which also supports public works, community services and charities.”
Most Canadians, Yussuff says, believe that unions have a positive role to play in society. “People do want unions to advocate for minimum wages, overtime pay, workplace safety standards, parental leaves, vacation pay and protection from discrimination and harassment. Many benefits first gained at the bargaining table are now enjoyed by all workers, whether or not they belong to a union.”
But Yussuff says labour advocacy goes beyond strictly workplace issues. “We push elected officials at all levels to provide a broad range of family-supporting public programs and services. For example, every Canadian should have a decent pension to retire on and that’s why we are working to convince governments to improve Canada Pension Plan benefits. We do this in the interest of creating fairness and when we succeed we raise the bar for everyone.”Yussuff adds that being in a union is especially important for women and younger workers. In Ontario, women who belong to a union earn an average of $7.83 an hour more than do women in non-unionized workplaces. Young workers in the province aged 15 to 29 earn an additional $2.69 an hour if they belong to a union.