Building Trades, Features, Law and Politics, National, Retail, Transportation

On The Streets, In The Stats – Support For Unions Is Rising

August 31, 2018

By Joe Maniscalco

New York, NY – Embattled unions fighting so-called “open shop” development, so-called “right to work” laws, the aftermath of the Janus decision — and a whole plethora of other right-wing attacks on workers — have some good news heading into Labor Day 2018: a clear majority of Americans like unions. 

Members of the #CountMeIn campaign fighting for good middle class jobs hold Park Avenue sit-in this summer.

According to a new Gallup poll, 62-percent of those surveyed between August 1-12 of this year, expressed support for unions. That’s a marginal uptick over last year’s figure of 61-percent, when that figure represented a level of support for unions not seen since 2003. 

Not surprisingly, many more Democrats than Republicans support unions — 80 percent to 45 percent. A majority of  Independents responding to the Gallup poll — 62-percent — also expressed support for labor unions. 

Perhaps more significant, is the number of younger people ages 18-34 — 65-percent of them — who said they approve of labor unions. Conversely, just 24 percent of younger people expressed disproval, with 11-percent having no opinion. Those watching the Labor Movement closely, are steadfast in their belief that unions nationwide need to do more to energize and mobilize the younger demographic. 

Gallup’s latest numbers would certainly seem to reflect the street-level support the #CountMeIn campaign has garnered throughout the summer of 2018. In addition to professional drivers honking their horns in support— the Building Trades’ Tuesday rallies outside billionaire developer Stephen Ross’ offices at 10 Columbus Circle, have consistently drawn cheers from passersby, as well as a lot of interest.

The latest Gallup poll numbers show that 69-percent of respondents on the East Coast approve of unions, while 35-percent out west disapprove. The south came in at 32-percent disapproval. 

Gallup started doing the labor poll back in 1936, when support for labor unions stood at 72-percent. Later, in the 1950s, support for American labor unions rose to 75-percent. The high level of support continued right on through 1967, during which time union approval averaged 68-percent. 

Support for unions, however, plummeted to just 48-percent in 2008, with the advent of the Great Recession.  Interestingly, Gallup has found that higher unemployment levels correspond to increased displeasure with unions. In 2016,  52-percent of respondents expressed their belief that labor unions are beneficial to the U.S. economy — that roughly equals the favorable numbers labor unions were pulling prior to the Great Recession. 

August 31, 2018

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