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No matter what anyone tells you, only you are capable of knowing what’s best for your career. Everyone’s professional path and expectations are different. But knowing what you want is critical to your success and contentedness in a role. Information, however, is beneficial in making the right decision.  When it comes to choosing between a union position or a non-union position, only you can make the call about what’s right for you. Knowing the difference between the two is key.

Now you might not know the difference between the two types of jobs. If you are interested in learning more about the pros and cons of union and non-union jobs, read on to learn about the differences within the power industry.

The Basics

Whether you’re an employee or a manager in the power industry, you probably already know the basics of what a union is. Still, we’ll cover the essentials for you just in case. A union is quite merely an organization of several employees who gather to address issues such as member hours, pay, and working conditions. Unions can be local, regional, or national in scale, and are led by democratically elected leadership and guided by member drafted and ratified constitutions.

Unions strive to promote and protect the interests of members and non-members alike. They often represent employees in disciplinary processes and offer various services to members outside of the workplace. Unions can be seen in action across the country, advocating for workplace reform such as increases in the federal minimum wage and requirements for paid sick leave. To be a member of a union, employees must pay a membership fee and are expected to participate in union meetings, elections, and other activities.

Union Jobs

While unions are sometimes seen in a negative light, union jobs can offer a lot of benefits for employees. Collective bargaining and union negotiation can often result in higher wages and better working conditions for employees in the power industry. Union jobs are considered to be more secure, provide a structured working environment, and can provide higher wages for workers as well. Unions provide an avenue of empowerment for workers to negotiate for better jobs and working conditions.

Non-Union Jobs

In non-union jobs, employees are employed “at-will,” meaning that an employee can choose whether to stay or go based on the situation. Employers have a great deal of control over whether they can discipline or fire staff at any time. Employers also have complete control over wages, benefits, and other work terms and conditions.

In a still-recovering economy, businesses are struggling to meet ambitious sales goals, which still meeting the demands of unions. The theory is that non-union jobs provide an opportunity for employers to compete for the best workers through voluntarily offering higher wages and better benefits than other companies in the industry.

What’s more, for those looking for contract work in the power industry, non-union jobs may be more prevalent than union jobs due to the temporary nature of the jobs and the emphasis on full-time, salaried employment that unions often prefer. For those who prefer hourly work, for whatever reason, non-union jobs may be the better option.  In the end, it comes down to employee preference, whether to join a union or not.

Build Your Career

For more advice on building your career in the energy industry, connect with the team at Williams today.

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