Labor unions are receiving more support from Americans now than they have in seven years, with 58 percent of respondents in a recent Gallup poll approving of the organizations. The numbers are the highest since 2008, when 59 percent of those polled agreed with the presence of unions in the workforce.
According to Gallup, support for labor unions has dropped significantly from the early to mid-20th century, when nearly 3 out of every 4 Americans approved of labor unions. The lowest level of support came in 2009, when only 48 percent of Americans sided with unions. Much of the negative publicity surrounding the 2008-2009 economic downturn and the Great Recession fell on car manufacturers, closely aligned with labor unions, after receiving government bailouts.
In terms of influence, more Americans want labor unions to take a greater role in the work area. Of respondents, 37 percent agreed that unions need to have more influence, up 12 percent from 2009. But 35 percent feel otherwise, down 7 percent from 2009.
Women are more likely to approve of unions and advocate for increased influence than men. In terms of geographic location, unions are move favored in the Midwest, West and Eastern part of the nation than in the South. Additionally, 2 out of every 3 “millennials” aged 18-34 agree with the existence of labor unions.
Of Democrats polled, 79 percent agreed that unions are necessary, with 55 percent wishing they had more influence. Republicans feel differently, with just 18 percent wanting unions to have more influence.
Even though the unions’ favorability ratings are climbing, 53 percent still believe that union power will be weakened over the next several years. This could be because only 8 percent of all working Americans are a part of a labor union and 17 percent live in a household where one member of the family is in a union.