If you care about your paycheck, you need to start caring about politics. As a union representative, I often hear the phrase “I’m not interested in politics” from union members — and this scares me.

Legislation dictates what items can be negotiated in a union contract, as well as the right for workers to organize, and the candidates that we elect for office are the ones who write this legislation.

Almost every bargaining unit I work with considers wages the most important part of the labor contract and the No. 1 priority in bargaining. So, I pose this question to union workers: If you were stripped of your right to unionize, and subsequently your collective bargaining agreement disappeared, what do you think would happen to your wages? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, union wages are 27% higher than nonunion wages.

If you don’t want to take a 27% pay cut, you need to vote for politicians who will fight to protect your right to unionize. Before you vote in this year’s election, ask your union which candidates they have endorsed.

Bonnie Moeller, business representative, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) District Lodge 160, Seattle