Kailey Krantz | Staff Writer
FIU students are sent out to join the workforce after graduation and while they are settling into the career of their choice, it is critical to understand the importance of joining a union.
Joining a union is a great opportunity for students to become a part of an organization that looks out for each other and speaks out on issues of better wages, safer working conditions, and better healthcare benefits.
According to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME, a union “is an organization formed by workers who join together and use their strength to have a voice in their workplace”.
Being a part of a union gives students additional help in the workforce through better wages to pay bills and take care of other financial necessities, safer working conditions that would decrease the chances of injury, assault and harassment in the workplace and better health benefits, in case a student employee needs a sick day, someone to cover them while they are out, and compensation for medical bills and other health needs.
One of the tactics used to advocate for these issues is called collective bargaining. Collective bargaining is when union workers negotiate with their employers over their wages and other working conditions such as benefits and workers’ rights.
Collective bargaining is useful as it allows employees in the union to have discussions with their employers, making sure they are holding up their end of the bargain by making sure they are providing a safe working environment for their employees.
Unions also inform their members of their worker’s rights, which helps them to call out their employers for shady business practices. If these conversations fall through and their demands are not met, these union members go on strike.
While this tactic only happens as a last resort, it does yield great results.
Back in August, I wrote about the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes and mentioned the importance of being in a union lies in “students hav[ing] a safety net in benefits and mak[ing] their professional careers more stable.”
Fortunately, the WGA was successful in landing a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers after 148 days, thus officially ending their end of the strike on Wednesday, September 27, 2023.
Not only would striking in a union allow students to be activists for their workplace, but the strikes themselves also get nationwide news media coverage, making non-union workers and the general public aware of their issues and joining the fight.
In other words, there is strength in numbers.
There is only so much a student in the workforce could advocate for on their own, but by joining a union, their voice is joined by others who share the same concerns and the collective grows bigger until their issues can’t be ignored.