What is a Union?

A union is an organized group of workers, such as the founders of the IBEW pictured here, who come together to bargain a labor contract with their employer and to make decisions about the conditions of their work. Through union membership, workers can impact wages, work hours, benefits, workplace health and safety, and other work-related issues. Under U.S. law, workers of all ages have the right to join a union.

Having support from the union to ensure fair treatment in the workplace is one of the key reasons people join. Many of the benefits and protections workers enjoy today came about as a result of union efforts. These include the minimum wage, Social Security payments, an eight-hour day and weekends, overtime pay, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which requires employers to meet safety standards for their workers.