More people are seeking union representation now than anytime in decades. While the increase was boosted by the pandemic, union enthusiasm and favorability was on the rise before COVID-19 hit.
Many unions represent workers in blue collar professions, such as construction or transportation. However, more white collar professionals are seeking representation for various reasons. Department of Professional Employees Communications Director Katie Barrows discussed organizing professional employees and why they are seeking representation.
Who is the Department of Professional Employees?
The Department of Professional Employees is a department within the AFL-CIO, representing professionals in 24 unions. Some of their member unions include the AFGE, SAG-AFTRA, NFLPA, IATSE and more.
The Department of Professional Employees work to establish ways to create collaboration between member unions, develop member engagement strategies and organize, Barrows said.
Why do professional employees organize?
Professional employees are not the first workers many think of when talking about forming a union. Barrows said these employees have begun seeking the same benefits they see other workers receiving.
She said a recent survey showed that over 56 percent of professional employees would join a union if given the chance. Similarly, union enthusiasm and favorability has been on the rise in recent years.
Finally, Barrows said these workers seek union representation for a number of reasons, but the main reasons include better wages, more defined raises, better benefits and improved treatment and working conditions.