One of the great things workers can get out of forming a union is the ability to negotiate for better benefits. With 16 cases of swine flu confirmed in Guam, it is a precaution for workers to stay at home if they are sick. The chances of spreading illness at the workplace is high, but how can a worker earning minimum wage and no paid sick leave afford to lose a day’s pay if choosing to stay at home? Workers in the past walked the front lines of strikes to fight for fair labor laws that exist. Unfortunately, we need to strengthen our labor laws to keep up with issues workers face today. Under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) employers are required to give workers unpaid leave for medical reasons but we don’t have any federal or local laws that ensure paid sick leave. Under the GovGuam rules and regulations, public servants are granted paid sick leave but for private workers it is up to the employer. With the presence of a union, workers can negotiate with management on providing benefits such as paid sick leave. The benefit of being part of union is that workers and employers can meet half way and ensure a level playing field exists. This is good for workers’ morale and employers’ productivity.

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