“When Unions Buy Votes”

“When Unions Buy Votes”

​The New York Daily News recently published an opinion piece by David Nocenti dated September 10, 2019. Mr. Nocenti is the Executive Director of Union Settlement that deals with providing services to Harlemites ranging from wellness, education and community building. The article itself was not surprising to say the least, because I belong to a union as well. So, the ratification bonus is no surprise to me.

​Nocenti decries the long-running policy of offering ratification bonuses to members for ratifying contracts. While the policy itself is beneficial to workers pockets it comes with some pitfalls. One for example, the monies received is merely an injection to someone’s finances and not a long-term cushion. Additionally, not all members benefit from the agreed upon terms between the non-profit and the union: only 15% per Nocenti.

​While I agree that the contract and its terms should be beneficial to all and not just a few. It’s hard to not ratify a contract where you’ll receive a substantial amount of money when you’re making a certain salary and you have obligations. One is placed in a very peculiar situation with a very tough decision to make. A member on the low salary end will almost always ratify a contract just to receive the money because it satisfies an immediate need.


Smaller unions usually have less bargaining power as opposed to a larger union which is a huge disadvantage.Therefore, it becomes very hard to not agree to the terms set forth. I disagree with Mr. Nocenti’s view regarding legislation that prohibits ratification bonuses, I think they should still be included. However, I do feel that the contract’s terms should be equal to all members and not just some. It’s great that he is however bringing attention to the matter as it sparks a conversation that is needed.

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