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Public Works is UNISON Scotland's campaign for jobs, services, fair taxation and the Living Wage. This blog will provide news and analysis on the delivery of public services in Scotland. We welcome comments and if you would like to contribute to this blog, please contact Kay Sillars k.sillars@unison.co.uk - For other information on what's happening in UNISON Scotland please visit our website.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

We knew it anyway but now there's proof: Unions make you happy

We generally highlight the more material benefits of joining an union but a US study has found that being a union member actually makes you happy.
The study of happiness or life satisfaction is becoming increasingly popular: even the Tories are measuring it. Studies measure both how people say they feel, things they do like laugh and smile and some include asking participants' friends and family to rate the subjects happiness as well as professional and clinical assessments. UNISON has joined others like Oxfam in campaigning for wider of use of these types of measures rather than for example GDP as a measure of a country’s success.
Two American academics have used data from a range of life satisfaction studies to see whether membership of a trade union “contributes to a higher quality of life”. They found that union members are more satisfied with their lives than non members and that the effect of union membership “rivals other common predictors of quality of life” The effect was found regardless of age, income, gender or level of education.

We spend a great deal of time at work so how we experience that time has a massive impact on our well being. The researchers give four suggestions as to why unions are so effective in creasing our happiness:
Unions give members a route to influencing how their workplace operates, they have routes to appeal management decisions and processes to deal with group or individual problems. This makes work life more satisfactory
Union members are generally better paid and have more secure employment especially in the US. Unemployment and worry about unemployment are major predictors of poor mental and physical health. Union membership can therefore reduce this type of stress and anxiety.
Unions provide lots of opportunities to for social interaction both formally through meetings and through working together to achieve goals. This reduces loneliness and social isolation. Having professional networks both formal and informal also helps reduce job stress and improves your ability to do your job.
Unions promote active citizenship, there is a growing body of evidence that being active in a community and achieving things through this activity improves how we feel about ourselves and the communities in which we live
So as well as gaining better terms and conditions at work , lots of services like cheaper car insurance joining a union will make you happy. Who could say no to that?

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