HHM draws to a close, but Hispanic presence in the U.S. carries on. More than forty million men, women and children continue to work, study, and prosper. At UFCW we are proud of our Latino members and their contributions to our union and our industry. From the braceros program of the early 1900s to the harvest pickers and line workers of today, we say gracias and we continue to organize and help Latinos get on their way to reaching the American dream.
The union difference marks a substantial improvement in the lives for all workers. But when Latino workers join a union they see a wage increase of 17.1% ($2.60/hour), plus they are 26% more likely to have employer-paid health insurance and 27% more likely to have a pension. Their numbers are growing in our industry, in our ranks, and as part of our population, and we welcome their hard work and optimism.
As we explained at the beginning of this Hispanic Heritage month, the period that began on September 15 and ends this Saturday, October 15 encompasses the independence dates of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18. And October 12, celebrated as Día de la Raza in Latin America, marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Western Hemisphere.
Historically and officially these milestones are the reason we celebrate Hispanic Heritage month. But we are sure that Hispanic Heritage month celebrations to come will add more achievements and successes from this vibrant component of our American identity.