Straight out of high school I started my life as a laborer in companies that were non union. I have always worked hard and with integrity but the pay and benefits never matched my dedication to the company. More was always expected and demanded by the companies without much change to pay or benefits. Once I began working for a company with a union I immediately saw the difference. My pay went up more than double for the exact work I did at a non union company, my benefits were great, and the dynamic of not being able to speak up without fear of punishment was gone. I still give my all to the company but now if there is an unreasonable expectation, a misunderstanding, or an unwarranted discipline I feel safe knowing that I have protection from the union through my contract and labor rights. To me, being part of a union doesn’t mean I don’t have to work hard, be responsible, or respect the company; being part of a union means that my hard work will be paid fairly, the company will also operate responsibly, I will be treated with dignity, and my family will have security.