People whose parents were in the labor movement decades ago are earning more today than those whose parents were not. Why?

Union Yes; Union check yesUnion membership has its perks: higher wagesbetter healthcare, more job security. Now, a new study from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank, adds another benefit to that list: richer children, once they’re all grown up.

According to the study, people between the ages of 26 and 37 who are working full time and whose parents did not go to college and were not in a union earn an average of $39,000 today. But a very similar group of people—everything the same except that they had one parent who was in a union—those people are earning $46,000. (The difference all but disappears when comparing people who had a parent who was a college graduate.)

Read more from The Atlantic.

By Assistant President Arty Martin

As I travel the nation attending local and regional meetings, I am often asked, “What has the union done for me?”

Brothers and sisters, there is no “me” in “union.” Your union cannot make agreements for one individual, or a small sector of the seniority roster.

It has long been the practice of the UTU to make agreements that protect all members — from the youngest to the oldest on the seniority roster.

In unity, there is strength in numbers. Union is about bringing together, unifying, combining and blending.

By working together — mobilizing, collecting facts and speaking collectively in a single and strong voice — we have achieved gains that could not be possible otherwise.

A union is about the collective power of strength on behalf of all its members — protecting all members from discrimination of any form, making each of us a contractual employee rather than an employee at will, ensuring the right to a given job as defined by the collective bargaining agreement, and providing health and retirement benefits beyond what is found in other industries.

As we face inevitable change from technological discoveries and economic cycles, our membership has specific needs that the union works to satisfy at the bargaining table, in grievances, and before regulatory agencies, state legislatures and Congress.

Assuring equal protection for all members is the objective. As elected officers at all levels strive to achieve that objective, we must consider the entire membership and not one individual or a small group on the seniority roster.

The more active and involved local members are, the stronger the local, general committee, state legislative board and International will be.

It is essential that every member be active in their local, understand our collective bargaining agreements and learn to document carrier violations by making detailed notes of events, the exact location, who said what and witnesses.

By attending union meetings our members gain a better understanding of how a union works on behalf of its members.

It is the carrier that attempts to reduce or eliminate jobs, benefits and improved working conditions. Without the UTU, carriers would have a free hand in replacing you with someone willing to work for less, for fewer benefits and under less safe working conditions.

The next time you hear a disgruntled union brother or sister say what the heck has the union done for me, please respond in support of your union.

Together, through preparation and hard work, we must continue — with fire in the belly — the fight for what is right. But we must do it collectively with one voice and behalf of every member.

The UTU is unique in the labor movement. We are structured from the bottom up, meaning that you, as a member, vote for and elect your local representatives, who, in turn, elect general committee officers, state legislative directors and International officers.

This form of representation has served our members well.

Moving forward, we must continue to have solid, active members and locals to continue to provide the quality jobs, wages, benefits and protections that the UTU is known for.

Private sector and public sector union membership fell sharply in 2010, reports The New York Times.

In the domestic private workforce, the percentage of workers represented by unions tumbled to 6.9 percent (from 7.2 percent in 2009), while in the public sector, the percentage dropped to 36.2 percent (from 37.4 percent in 2009), reports the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private sector union employment is at its lowest point in more than a century, says the BLS.

Total union membership — combined private and public sector — is now at its lowest point in 70 years, or 11.9 percent of the total work force (down from 12.3 percent in 2009), says the BLS.

The good news, reports The New York Times, is that the median weekly earnings for union members is now $917, or $200 more than the median weekly earnings for non-union members. The median separates the highest 50 percent from the lowest 50 percent, meaning half of union workers earn more than $917 weekly and half less than $917 weekly.

States with the highest unionization rate (public and private sectors) are Alaska, Hawaii and New York; the lowest rates being in Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina, says the BLS.