Union Jobs Are Available

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Jul 26, 2021

According to recent studies, a majority of the 157 million active American workers would like to have a union job. According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, majorities view employee-run associations and unions favorably and see the decline of unions as a worrying trend.

It’s not surprising. Union workers are pretty much the only employees that still have access to an actual pension. Union wages are prized by all employees everywhere, and union members can only be fired for a good reason, not for “any reason or no reason” like everyone else.

But, scoring a union job with union wages, union work rules, and a union pension isn’t easy. Anti-worker laws are rampant and can be very effective in preventing union organizing. Simplifying this process is one reason millions of working people in the US support the ‘Protecting the Right to Organize Act’ (PRO Act). 

Therefore, the quickest and surest way to hold a union job is to get hired at a union workplace.

And unionized companies aren’t hiring. And union workers don’t quit; they retire. So, not a lot of job openings are out there.  

Despite the Payroll Support assistance that Congress gave to airlines to preserve their workforces through the pandemic, airlines have somehow shed so many workers that they cannot operate at 2019 levels. Hundreds of flight cancellations have plagued the industry over the spring and summer, as the virus began to recede and travelers returned to the air. Chronic shortages at major stations, notably Denver, have resulted in significant employee and passenger consternation. 

In response, United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby has announced plans to hire some 25,000 new agents over the next few years. The move will increase the number of union jobs at some of the airlines’ biggest stations, easing critical staffing shortfalls and allowing new growth, including adding about 150 new flights to the winter schedule. 

The new union positions will happen all around the country. The biggest winner is expected to be at Uniteds’ Newark, New Jersey hub, which will add a stunning 5,000 new jobs. Close behind is San Francisco, which will add 4,000. Denver, Chicago, Washington Dulles, and Los Angeles will all see 3,000 new union positions.  

The new union workers will start work under several contracts, depending on their work areas and positions. However, virtually all of them will qualify for eventual top-out wages that soar to over $30/hour. Thanks to a historic agreement between the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union and United, their jobs will be almost impossible to outsource. They will qualify for flight benefits that allow reduced-cost air travel for them and their families. Importantly, they can become beneficiaries of a true union pension – meaning that they will be getting paychecks for the rest of their lives if they end up retiring from the airline. 

While American Airlines has yet to announce specific plans to add a similar level of new hiring, the company has begun recalling workers who had taken voluntary leave and has already started an aggressive program to attract in-flight crews. This new hiring includes calls to hire and return to work thousands of flight attendants and pilots, all of whom will be union workers. 

The new hiring will add more than $100 million in new union wages for United and American Airlines workers by 2026.

Cover Photo Credit: United Airlines / Inside Photo Credit: IAMAW District 141

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