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Why Unions Matter to Millennials

August 31, 2017 Updated: September 8, 2020

Did you know that the UFCW is home to more people under the age of 30 than any other labor union? And for good reason – Millennials are the hardest hit generation when it comes to poor wages and benefits, making it difficult to earn a living.

Union membership is one of the most powerful forces in combating this trend, because it grants you a voice on the job, and the ability to negotiate for good pay, health insurance, hours that work with your schedule, and a plethora of other benefits that are good for the worker, the employer, and the economy.


Younger workers who haven’t heard much about unions might assume they’re vintage, something over and done with  –  that only their parents or grandparents benefited from them. But that doesn’t mean young people don’t stand a lot to gain by joining a union.

In a recent New York Times article, Daily Show writer Kashana Cauley reflected about what it was like growing up in a union household, her father an auto worker whose union insurance covered his hospital trips to drain fluid from his knees from long days on the assembly line: “Each time he healed, he could go right back to the job he loved in order to provide for our family.” She goes on to talk about how unions could be the voice on the job that this next generation needs now, to care for their own families and make their own lives better.

Young people who belong to unions understand this. UFCW Local 1473 member Matt, from Outpost Natural Foods, joined the union in 2013.

“There’s a feeling like there’s a team and it’s not just management. The union is as strong as it is because of the involvement of members,” says Matt. “So, I encourage more people to get involved. Money doesn’t always flow in, and benefits can be taken away at any time, even at a co-op level. For us, the economy was down and everything was on the chopping block, but we sat down and were able to save all our benefits. I’m really proud to be a union member. I’m glad to be a part of what has been standing up for workers for decades and what will hopefully continue to do so for eons into the future.”


When you’re part of a union, you’re part of a family – a family that cares about ALL members. A family where women make 10 percent more in wages than their non-union counterparts, where people of color earn the same as their white counterparts, where LGBTQ workers have the same rights as the rest of their coworkers.


Being a member of the UFCW also means help with your education and debt. It means you have access to free online college, and to discounts that make building a better life easier. It means you can be part of nationwide efforts like the National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, and fighting Blood Cancer with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, making a real difference.

This Labor Day, we celebrate all our members, young and old, and continue our pledge to build a better life together.

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