BusinessBrief.com » Union support slips to all-time low

Union support slips to all-time low

September 18, 2009 by Tim Gould
Posted in: Legal & Compliance


Maybe the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) isn’t as big a threat as we thought. Turns out the number of Americans who approve of unions has dropped to an all-time low.

Just 48% of participants in a recent Gallup Poll expressed approval of labor unions. That’s down from 59% in last year’s survey, and the lowest level of public support since Gallup first asked the question in 1937.

To put the numbers in perspective: In that first poll — held right after the passage of the National Labor Relations Act, which gave most private-sector workers the right to join a labor union — the approval rate was 72%. That benchmark was bested in 1957, when the number rose to 75%.

The previous low? A 55% approval rate in both 1979 and 1981.

Hopeful sign for employers?

The poll results couldn’t come at better time for employers feeling threatened by the prospect of  EFCA’s passage — whatever form that might take. Even if the pro-union legislation makes it into law, it seems there’s a dwindling number of Americans who feel the labor unions are playing a positive role in the national economy.

For a look at the full poll results, go here.

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  • Sawtooth

    It is litte wonder that the popularity of unions has sunk in the past year or so. With all of the news from G.M. bail out regarding what the union will or will not do in the national spotlight, I can see why the general public grew sick of the poor retirees with full salary and medical benefits crying poor me. At a time when unemployment zoomed to an all time high. The president of the union went on national T.V. and actually stated that retiree’s benefits ONLY add 10% to the price of every car manufactured. To top that off, it was the WAY he said it. The fact that they were forced to accept what amounts to a ownership share in the company in the bail-out or go into bankruptcy and then come out after the deal was done and say they would sell their shares ASAP is a clear sign that they have no interest or loyality in the hand that feeds them. Look at the industries that were union based, textiles, steel, automobiles that use to be the backbone of American manufacturing. All have left or are threatened by global labor competition. We are a nation of innovation and invention. So we invent robots that can do repetitive functions like manufacturing cars. Unions that have enough power have influenced the useage. When an unskilled high school grad gets a job at G.M. & makes $36K a year, comes to work, finds out he is not needed that day, can sit in the break room for his shift and get paid. (as reported in news articles) Add to that the shoddy cars they turn out. I used to be a die hard Chevrolet man. After two consecutive vehicles in the 80’s, I could not afford to buy their junk any more and went to Toyota. Although I will not give up my ford truck. Everyone complains how greedy companies are but they don’t stop to think its not all driven by the company. Most have gone public and have stockholders that are demanding results so they will have something to retire on. Maybe its a viscious circle………….

  • Deb

    I appreciate that there may have been a time and place for these unions but that time is gone. My husbands company is union based and it’s horrible to watch them decide to go on strike over the amount of raises they will receive. No one should be guaranteed a raise…work for it like the rest of the country. The next contract will be up for vote in few months so we are now searching for a car that my husband will be able to drive while they are on strike. Why you ask? Because, while on strike they will also get away with smashing the windows and slashing the tires of their managers cars.

  • Bob B

    Steve Nesich – I regret to inform you that in China and in most all socialist countries such as the old USSR Unions are required and are state agencies. Possibly there is a connection between the lack of individual freedom in those countries and forced unionism. US unions also are all about controlling the worker such as vote for who we say, strike when we say, pay us even if you don’t like our service or believe in what we do. see a connection?


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