Be Inspired

7 Things You May Not Know About Unions

If you work within the media world, odds are you’ve heard of a union. Recently, digital and print publishing companies such as Harper Collins and Conde Nast have formed unions to demand a fairer workplace. So, maybe you have heard of a union but aren’t exactly sure what it is—or what being part of it means.

Here are some things you may not know about unions.

1. They have been around for a long time

Believe it or not, the concept of unions goes back—all the way back to 1158 B.C. Artisans working for Pharoah Ramesses III didn’t receive their compensation on time, so they walked off the job. Ultimately, they ended up receiving payment once the pharaoh realized he had no one to build his tomb.

2. They are the most common within public administration, transportation, and the education and health service industries

Unions are highly popular within groups that serve the public. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 33.2% of union workers are within public administration, 27.3% are within transportation, and 20% are within education and health services. 

3. Union workers are diverse

Unions have commonly been associated with blue-collar workers in the Midwest. However, unions these days range from employees with various backgrounds in numerous industries. Additionally, they represent workers of all levels of education.

4. They are gaining traction in “new economy workplaces”

Unions are becoming more common in workplaces filled with TV writers, mail carriers, digital journalists, Silicon Valley contract workers, and more. This is most likely due to the ever-changing landscapes of these industries.

5. Members typically earn more money than non-union members

Statistically, demanding more money works. On average, union members earn 11.2% more than nonunion members. Some states even don’t have union rights. In those states, workers’ pay is lower than those in states with unions and union rights.

6. They are the most popular amongst millennials

Millennials are the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. Not only that, but they’re joining unions at a historic rate. Three-quarters of people who joined labor unions in 2017 were under the age of 35.

7. Nordic countries are the most unionized

Unions aren’t just popular in the United States. In fact, they’re more popular in places like Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden. Aside from the Nordic countries, they’re second most popular in European countries.

Like what you’re reading? Sign up to get our best career advice and job search tips.


Be Inspired