15 Highest-Paid Union Jobs in Illinois

Many people want to work a unionized job because employees who belong to a union get paid more and enjoy better benefits, among other perks. In almost every field, you can find a job that is part of a union. 

Since unions have so many benefits, employers who are part of a union are very popular with people looking for new jobs.

This article discusses the benefits of a union job and how to get a union job. You would also find the 15 highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

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How to Get the Highest-Paid Union Jobs in Illinois?

People look for union jobs because they feel safer in them. Here’s how to find a job with a union:

#1. Find a local labor union

On the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) website, you can find a local labor union. Your local labor union should help you find employers and their websites with job postings. Think about asking for help from union officials. 

On the AFL-CIO website, you can also ask for a union organizer to contact you.

#2. Sign up for a job as an apprentice

Since many employers hire skilled trades like plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry, one way to get a union job is to have experience and training in these trades. 

Your apprenticeship program might be able to connect you with unions in your field or unionized employers who want to hire skilled workers.

You can search online for apprenticeship programs in your state. Visit apprenticeship.gov to see what’s available near you, or visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website to look for apprenticeship programs for union workers.

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#3. Look at job sites

Use the word “union” in your search to find job openings at companies that are part of a union. It’s common for these employers’ job postings to include information about the union with which they have affiliations. That way, people looking for work can find out the facts immediately.

A website for an employer is another place to look. If you want to work somewhere, you can check their website to see if they are part of a union. The information is probably out in the open if they do, and you can apply to work.

#4. Get in touch with a union in your field

You can find unions only for certain types of businesses by searching online. 

Explore these options and get in touch with the unions that interest you to find out if they know any hiring companies. 

The Center for Union Facts (CUF), an organization that keeps a database of information about labor unions in the United States up to date, is one option.

#5. Go to the site for the Union Jobs Clearinghouse

The Union Jobs Clearinghouse keeps its website up-to-date with a list of unions and job openings. 

Suppose you want to work for an organization like the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, you can go to Union Jobs Clearinghouse to find out which ones are hiring and for what positions.

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Pros of Having a Union Job

Being a member of a union has its own set of benefits, such as:

  • The median income of union workers is higher than that of non-union workers. Union workers also get better raises than them.
  • Non-union workers have “at-will” employment. It means their boss can fire them for any reason that isn’t based on their religion, gender, race, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. But if an employee is in a union, the employer must have a real, written reason for firing them.
  • Union workers have the right to go through a grievance procedure and arbitration process with union leaders before they get fired. This is not the case for nonunion workers.
  • Better benefits: Most of the time, union employees in the same industry have better benefits than their non-union peers. This includes medical benefits and retirement. It’s common for union employers to let more people get covered by the benefits. The health insurance premiums of many union workers get paid for by their union employers.
  • Safer places to work: Unionized employers usually go out of their way to make sure their workers are safe at work. When employees feel safe at work and cared for by their employer, they are more productive and have a better attitude at work. This is because they have the right tools and know how to use them safely.
  • Seniority. In a union job, having more years of experience means much more than it might in a nonunion job. During layoffs, a non-union employer might fire a senior worker instead of a new hire. In layoffs, a union should let go of its newest workers first and its most experienced workers last.

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15 Highest Paid union jobs in Illinois

#1. Actor

Salary: $17,192 per year

Actors are professionals whose main job is to show how other people feel, act, and behave in creative ways. They work in movies, TV shows, plays, and other shows. 

Even though there are acting jobs all over the U.S., they are one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois. There is a lot of competition for jobs in each place, and becoming a union member is a sought-after goal.

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#2. Car mechanic

Salary: $41,320 per year

An automotive mechanic’s main job is to keep car parts in good shape and fix them when they break down. Every day, they run diagnostic tests and figure out problems with the mechanical parts of cars. 

They also check the mechanical parts to make sure they work. It is the highest-paid union job in Illinois.

#3. Marine Service Technician

Salary: $41,920 per year

A marine service technician keeps boats and other watercraft in good shape and fixes them when they break. They ensure that marine passengers are safe by checking equipment, making sure navigational tools work, and making necessary repairs.

They run diagnostic tests daily, write reports, and turn in their results. It is one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

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#4. Ironworker

Salary: $42,600 per year

An ironworker is a skilled worker who puts together and builds iron structures. Their job is to work together with project managers, engineers, architects, clients, and construction superintendents. 

They read engineering drawings, figure out what the instructions mean, and put in iron pieces. 

It is one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

#5. Airline manager

Salary: $42,663 per year

A professional in a commercial airline’s maintenance department is an airline manager. They are responsible for the operations and communication needed to ensure safe air travel. 

Managers of airlines test equipment regularly, talk to airline employees, make sure all paperwork is in order, and keep an eye on maintenance repairs and installations. 

They have one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

#6. Carpenter

Salary: $42,993 per year.

Carpenters have the skill to build and fix structures out of wood and other building materials. 

They work in groups led by a foreman or team leader to do projects like installing a door or building a house. Carpenters have one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

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#7. Firefighter

Salary: $44,313 per year.

Firefighters are members of the community who help in times of fire emergencies. They drive fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. They put out fires in homes, businesses, cars, and forests.

They also have the training to help people and animals in dangerous situations. It is one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

#8. Customer Service Representative

Salary: $46,289 per year.

Customer service representatives’ main jobs are to talk to customers and companies. 

They process orders, send out billing statements, and collect payments. They also deal with customer complaints and answer questions about products regularly.

 Customers Representatives must calm down situations, write or follow scripts, and always fill out reports. Customer service representatives have one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

#9. Electrician

Salary: $47,040 per year

An electrician has one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois. They are a skilled tradesperson who works on systems that use electricity. They design, install, maintain, and fix the wiring and electricity in buildings, homes, machines, and other power sources.

They must review and carry out plans daily, install fixtures or equipment, and find solutions to electrical problems.

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#10. Plumbing Technician

Salary: $47,820 per year

Plumbers are workers who install, maintain, and fix pipes and other materials used to move water or sewage.

 Plumbing technicians, more commonly called plumbers, have one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois. 

They often work together with contractors, electricians, and other construction professionals.

#11. Teachers

Salary: $48,736 per year

School teachers are experts in their fields and work in secondary education. They make materials, plan lessons, make assignments, and grade student work. Teachers in high school often work with other staff members to help students learn. They have one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

Also, they’re taught how to teach differently, give instructions, and deal with bad behaviour. They must talk to parents daily, manage the classroom, turn in lesson plans, and help their students with schoolwork.

#12. Carpenter Foreman

Salary: $48,880 per year.

A carpenter foreman is a skilled worker in charge of building crews and builders. This person reports to the construction superintendent. He is in charge of keeping track of how things are going on-site. It is one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

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#13. Pipe Fitter

Salary: $48,980 per year.

Pipefitters, who are also called steamfitters, focus on piping for machines. They often design, build, install, and fix piping systems. They often work in commercial, industrial, and marine settings.

Some of the things they do daily are measuring, welding, and using tools specific to their field. Pipefitters have one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

#14. Truck Drivers

Salary: $51,409 per year

A truck driver trainer is someone who teaches people who want to drive trucks for a living how to do it. They work for companies or schools and help people get a commercial driver’s license. They do this by giving advice and lessons (CDL).

As part of their job, they have to learn about state rules, give practice tests, run practice driving sessions, and fill out forms. Truck drivers have one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

#15. Police Officer

Salary: $54,074 per year

The main job of a police officer is to enforce the law. They work together to keep people safe. They patrol areas, look into things, and help people who need help. They also make sure that federal and state laws are seriously followed.

Their regular jobs are to watch, collect evidence, and report what they find. They have one of the highest-paid union jobs in Illinois.

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At first, labour unions protected workers from dangerous working conditions and sweatshops. As the number of union members grew over the years, their influence grew in the economy, politics, and culture of the United States.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Illinois’s general union jobs wage?

Illinois’s general wage for union jobs is around $20- $50 an hour. This includes hourly cash wages and fringe benefits.

How much does an Illinois unionized construction worker make?

ZipRecruiter has seen salaries as high as $90,711 and as low as $18,405. Most Union Construction salaries are between $36,810 (25th percentile) and $58,283 (75th percentile). Illinois’s highest earners (90th percentile) make $72,306 per year.

Which state has the most people who belong to a union?

Hawaii. With 23.63 percent, Hawaii has the most union members in the country. In the state, firefighters make an average of $68,590 annually, which is 117.87 percent of the average salary for all workers.

How many people in Illinois belong to a union?

In 2020, 10.8% of wage and salary workers in the U.S. were union members, which is 0.5 percentage points more than in 2019.

What kind of person works for a union?

Workers get paid in terms of wages, salaries, tips, payment in kind, or piece rates. People who work in private and public sectors are part of this group. The data on union membership and earnings don’t include any self-



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