Unions Are Appealing to Millennials

Unions have not traditionally been associated with millennials or white-collar jobs, but things are changing. Young people are bringing a new energy to the movement that has been gaining momentum across North America.

Gallup Poll showed that the approval of unions jumped to 58 per cent and the desire for more union influence is also on the rise with 37 per cent of people saying they want to see unions have more influence. Of all age groups surveyed – millennials, aged 18 to 34, were more pro-union than any other group.

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Our neighbours down south have seen the same thing with a third of new union members in the U.S. working in professional and technical occupations, and over three-quarters of new members under the age of 35.

Here are just a few of the reasons why.

1.     Part-Time and Contract Work is Growing

Precarious work has been growing for some time now, and millennials feeling the impact of this trend. These jobs are unstable and often lack benefits, fair wages, safe work environments or opportunity for advancement.

2.     Pay Gap

The gender pay gap is a very real thing in Canada, with a woman working full time making 73.5 cents for every dollar a man makes. That makes up an astounding $168 billion in wages missing from the Canadian economy. This is even worse for Indigenous women and women of colour, who earn even less. Women are sick of this status quo and unions offer a way to change that.

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3.     Growing Sense of Powerlessness

Millennials have been facing a difficult economic landscape. They’ve been told that they should get used to precarious work, they have huge student debts and purchasing a home is an unattainable goal for the large majority. Millennials are looking for more stability and a way to move up the economic latter – they see unions as a way to do this.

4.     Involvement in Social Movements

The labour movement has been involved in social and political activism for decades, and still fight for the rights of all Canadians. They have fought for safety legislation, better wages and are taking a large role in the important #MeToo movement. Social activism is something millennials care a lot about, so it is only natural they would see this as a positive thing in their union.


Young People Feel The Strain of Precarious Work

To be a millennial means a lot of things in Canada.

It means that ta familiarity with digital technology and media. A more liberal approach to politics. They are multi-taskers, tech savvy and enjoy collaboration.

Unfortunately in our current economy, being a millennial also means a tough road for employment.

As you enter into college or university, you look forward to working towards a career. Securing yourself in a path leading to a good job and better life, but that isn’t the way it is working anymore.

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Millennials are taking multiple jobs, short term employment and contract work, just to get by. This is also known as precarious work – lacking security, benefits and sometimes good pay.

According to The Tyee, between 2012 and 2016 the youth demographic lost 20,000 full-time jobs , while those over 45 gained 228,000 full-time positions.

Those in favour of the ‘gig economy’ or precarious positions argue that this type of employment offers flexibility and a good work-life balance. This is something that this generation wants.

In reality, it tends to offer cheap labour and a way for employers to take advantage of workers. Many have erratic scheduling, lack the ability to unionize and do not have the same access to benefits or paid leave that full-time employees do.

But something more young people are becoming interested in is the labour movement – not only because of the social and political activism involved, but also the protection and rights they provide for all workers.

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Having a union to look out for you means you have someone who can fight for better hours and higher wages, which is especially important as a young person no matter what type of job you have. According to a recent study, “young union workers earn $4.92/hr more than non-unionized workers.”

Teamsters Local 362 protects the rights of young union workers through the power of collective agreements where everyone is guaranteed benefits, job security and also, well deserved time off.

There is no denying that precarious work is on the rise, but through the labour movement, young people can fight for better jobs for themselves and generations to come.


Precarious Work In Canada – Is It Here To Stay?

Precarious work is a topic that has been brought up quite often this year, and is a reality for far too many people in Canada.

Precarious is officially defined as people who ‘who fill permanent job needs but are denied permanent employee rights.’  Some of these rights include safe working conditions, benefits and fair wages.

On Oct. 22 the federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told Canadians that they should get used to the ‘job churn’. In other words, Morneau was telling Canadians that precarious work, especially for young people, was here to stay for a while and we as a country have to prepare for that.

Not all people feel that way.

Author Nora Loreto told CBC that she believes Morneau’s comments are trying to make precarious work seem to be the new normal.

"What's happening here is Morneau is trying to make something that should not be palatable — be palatable to young people, to tell them to expect that their life is going to be a struggle, that they will not have the 'good job,'" she explained.

Many experts also point out that the government can do more to change the situation, and if they do not it could create higher costs for the economy.

Fiona McQuarrie, associate professor in the school of business at the University of the Fraser Valley, pointed out that high turnover requires employers to invest in recruiting, hiring and training. Beyond that, employees working in precarious positions often suffer stress and are not able to make major financial investments.

In these precarious jobs people lack the ability to join a union, which can improve not only the quality of life at work, but home life as well. Unionized employees have better wages, more job security, benefits and the comfort of knowing they have support in the workplace.

This ‘job churn’ is something that is affecting our country right now, and together we have to decide how we want the future of employment to be in Canada.

Young People Becoming 'Work Martyrs' With Precarious Work On The Rise

Popular stereotypes often label the millennial generation or gen why as ‘lazy’ or ‘unmotivated’, but a recent study shows that this is not the case.

Instead of slackers, they’ve coined the term ‘work martyrs.’

The study was published by Time Off, a research initiative launched by the non-profit U.S. Travel Association. It states that “Millennials are the most likely generation to forfeit time off, even though they earn the least amount of vacation days.”

And why exactly is it that this generation have become work martyrs?

According to the research lead of the study, it is because the majority ‘subsist in a precarious work environment, and they don’t want to rock the boat.’

The Canadian Labour Congress defines precarious work as  ‘jobs with undefined hours with low to no wages or contract work’ and ranges from unpaid internships to part-time service industry gigs, work as an Uber driver or freelancers.’

The CLC found that one-third of young workers are in temporary positions, and 13.2 per cent of 15–29 year olds are unemployed. And, along with part-time work, unpaid internships are also on the rise.

Something needs to be done for young people trying to build a future.

Having a union to look out for you means you have someone who can fight for better hours and higher wages, especially important as a young person no matter what type of job you have.

Teamsters Local 362 also protects the rights of young union workers who, in many cases, are only able to get low-level or precarious work. Through the power of collective agreements everyone is guaranteed benefits, job security and also, well deserved time off.

Unions Looking to Millennials as Alberta Workforce Grows Younger

Times have changed when it comes to Alberta's labour market, and the workforce is getting younger.

With millennials now making up almost 40 per cent of Canada's working population, it will be up to a younger generation of employees to decide how relevant unions are in today's labour movement.

For decades unions have fought for fairer wages, more secure pensions and equality in the workplace. With high unemployment rates and growing numbers of precarious jobs spanning the province, millennials are looking to unions for opportunity and security.

As baby boomers and Gen X populations continue to retire, the millennial workforce will only increase; issues more unique to these younger generations — low wages, precarious work, etc. — may allude to why we’re seeing the popularity of unions rising with the millennial labour movement.

Although young workers are the least unionized part of the Canadian workforce,70 per cent of public sector employees are unionized; soon many of these roles will be occupied by a millennial generation.

For those who view unions as outdated and taxing on time and resources, recent statistics show 360,000 Canadian union workers between ages 15 and 24 “on average earn nearly $3.16 more per hour than their non-union peers.” And despite what many people commonly think, union jobs are varied — they accommodate everyone from highly skilled workers to new employees without experience.

Already making strides in the young worker movement today, the growing popularity of unions will continue to be reliant on millennials and their push for better, safer places to work.

For more information, please visit: http://www.teamsters362.com/

Millennial Women Face Gender Pay Gap

Even in 2016, gender inequality is still an issue found in workplaces across the world, including Canada.

The spotlight has been on the issue with a review last year of Canada by the United Nations who found that gender inequality in the workplace is a huge concern, especially when it comes to pay.

According to Catalyst Canada Canadian women earn $0.82 to every $1 earned by men, a gap of 18 per cent. They found that the ‘global pay gap was about $4,000 on average between men and women, and the Canadian pay gap was just over $8,000.’

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And this isn’t just a problem for older generations. Millennials too are entering workplaces where the gender pay gap still exists, especially if it is non-unionized.

Studies have shown that being a member of a union can help narrow the gender wage gap for women. Union members earn on average $5.28 per hour more than workers without a union and women earn $7.10 per hour more on average with a union.

Under no circumstances are there any Teamsters agreements where men and woman receive a different pay rate for the same job. Men and women deserve equal pay and it is something the union strongly believes in.

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As pointed out by an article in The Guardian, this wage gap is something that younger women need to address the first day of their first job, when they are introduced to the wage gap.

The optimism of millennials isn’t going to be enough to solve the problem – they need to take action.

Unions have been fighting for worker’s rights for decades, and joining one offers an opportunity to continue to fight to close the gender pay and aspiration gap.

The Popularity of Labour Unions Are On The Rise As Millennial Support Grows

As we head into the last few months of 2015, research suggests that unions are becoming more popular now than they have in a long time.

And some of the biggest supporters are those who will make up our future generation of leaders – millennials.

A recent Gallup Poll showed that the approval of unions jumped to 58 per cent this year, an increase of 5 per cent from last year and 10 per cent since 2008.

As pointed out in a story by the Huffington Post, the desire for more union influence is also on the rise with 37 per cent of people saying they want to see unions have more influence.

Of all age groups surveyed – millennials, aged 18 to 34, were more pro union than any other group.

Although the Gallop Poll was conducted in America, this young pro union attitude can be seen in Canada as well.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Canadian millennial Daniel Bastein, who works with UNITE HERE, described his desire to join the labour movement.

As a young activist, he was concerned about the growing income inequality that has been increasing as involvement in organized labour has been declining.

“I’m concerned about the direction that Canada’s heading,” said Bastien in the interview. “So many people my age are struggling for jobs, working contract-to-contract, or going to grad school to avoid the labour market. And that won’t change until the rebirth of the labour movement.”

The article pointed out that the future of the union movement in Canada is connected to young people like Bastein.

Not only is the approval of unions on the rise, so is level of life satisfaction for those who are part of a union.

A recent study found that overall union members are ‘more satisfied with their lives than those who are not members.’ This is due to factors such as wage stability, benefits and good pension plans.

As young people move into positions of power and leadership, it will be exciting to see how the labour movement grows of the next few years.

Rising Youth Unemployment A Concern For All Canadians

While there are plenty of political and economic concerns for the millennial generation, one that has been highlighted recently is youth unemployment.

Statistics Canada reported that youth unemployment rose from 12.9 per cent in June to 13.2 per cent in July this year. As young people are graduating from high school or post secondary, there seems to be less opportunities for quality employment in industries across the board.

This number also doesn’t account for underemployed youth, which according to an article in the Globe and Mail, make up another 27 per cent. These are youth who ‘take contingency jobs to earn something of a living while searching for their career work.’

Young people are forced to take jobs with inconsistent hours, no benefits, poor conditions, low wages and in some cases may even be unpaid.

And who is it who is helping this group of young people get by?

According to an article in the Huffington Post it is middle class families, parents and grandparents who are stepping up. This can have long-term consequences, because it may take years, in terms of wages, for this generation of millennials to catch up.

An option more young people have been considering is joining a labour union, with workers at Vice Media and Gawker both recently joining unions. Unions step up to make sure all of their members, including young people have fair wages, hours and benefits – helping them build for the future, rather than taking away from it.

It seems to be something that those in powerful positions aren’t ready to fully deal with yet, as was evident when the Bank of Canada Governor made headlines when he suggested that unemployed youth should just ‘work for free.’

But with the economy being such a hot topic in the upcoming election, it will be interesting to see what the leaders have to say about the issue.

The question is how much will the leaders care about issues of young people, when they are the group of people most likely not likely to vote?

A recent study shows that 70 per cent of young people feel ignored by politicians.

Jonathan Sas, the director of the research for the Broadbent Institute who was part of the study, said that politicians really should take a closer look at prioritizing issues for millennials such as the high rates of unemployement.

Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, has also spoken out about the issue saying that the rising rate of youth unemployment ‘demonstrates it is time for a change.’

“We need a new government that will commit to adequately funding initiatives like targeted paid internships and skills training for youth, and requiring that any business benefiting from federal infrastructure spending hires apprentices,” said Yussuf in a statement on the CLC website.

Many unions, including Teamsters 362, across Canada have also been encouraging their members to be politically engaged no matter where their political views lie, because voting is such an important right for all Canadians.

Generation Y And The Future Of Organizing

Generation Y, or millennials, have been described as more ‘civic minded’ and focused on a strong sense of community, it is no wonder then that they view unions in a more favourable light than older generations

With workforce trends going the way they are, and youth unemployment as a global concern, it is important for young people to be aware of the benefits of joining a union.

In a survey of millennials born between 1980 and the early 2000’s, over 60 per cent had a very favourable view of unions, but a lot of young workers don’t join them.

But this past April the editorial staff of the very popular blog called Gawker announced that they were organizing and trying to unionize.

The celebrity and pop culture blog is put together by millennials, for mainly millennials. A lot of the staff at the blog are freelancers, writers who do not work a typical 9 to 5 desk job.

Hamilton Nolan, a writer for Gawker, explained why he had decided that this was the right move in a post on the site.

He first pointed out that every workplace could use a union because it is the only thing that can represent the interests of the employees in the company.

“A union is also the only real mechanism that enables employees to join together to bargain collectible, rather than as a bunch of separate, powerless entities,” he wrote.

He said that Gawker would be the first major online media company to organize.

“There are plenty of companies in this industry whose workers could desperately use the help of a union. If we can show that it's possible, I hope that a positive precedent will be set,” he wrote.

And for this generation, a lot of workers need to know it’s possible for a number of reasons, including the increase in precarious, freelancing and contract work as well as the rise of cheaper automated machines, as opposed to human workers.

Joining a union is something that also fits this generation’s socially conscious attitude.

Gabriel Bako recently wrote in a post for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives that ‘young people want to take collective against all kinds of injustice but are often doing this in non-traditional ways.’

Social media is a prefect example, with young people actively engaged in debates, sharing information and creating initiatives online.  It is a matter of transferring this spirit into organization.

“Unionization is still the best option for achieving workplace rights,” Bako wrote, going on to point out that unions must allow youth to take on ‘participatory roles in all aspects of the union’.

The potential of young people and unions to come together is there, and both sides together can make a change in how we shape workplaces for the next generation.