My husband is a 10 year member of our local Pipefitter's Union. We have great benefits, our work has been more stable than the non union sector, safer working conditions, and great family support, etc
I'm a big union fan. My dad and husband belong to the same union and I have never wondered how to pay a dental bill or how I was going to fill a prescription. I'm not well versed on how unions are run in other areas but for our province it is top notch. It isn't perfect and I could definately gripe about a few things but overall we are very proud to belong to the local. A huge perk for us is that Mr J will be eligible for his full pension at 47 because of the pension plan that the employers pay into on his behalf. He is not going to retire then but it is nice to know that our future is somewhat thought out.
Here is a current example: last night something went "oooops!" at my husband's refinery. Today he went in for his regular day shift and only worked 4.5 hrs. He went home to sleep and was paid for the remainder of his work day. He had to go in for nightshift and because it isn't his normal shift it is a double time premium. He is disrupting his life and daily cycle and built into his union agreement is a plan to adequately compensate him for this disruption.
I hope that your husband can find work quickly
Employment/financial issues are very stressful!