MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY-TREASURER
Steven P. Vairma
Steve Vairma's Column:
Approval rating climbs; it's time to go to work
Recent research shows that organized labor today has the highest approval rating among Americans that unions have enjoyed in decades. Some 68 percent of Americans now approve of unions, which is the highest it has been since 1965.
The current results are from Gallup Organization's annual Work and Education poll conducted August 2-17, 2021.
The approval of unions among the American public has been checkered over the years. Unions were popular and approval rates averaged 68 percent, including record-high 75 percent in 1953 and 1957. From 1972 to 2016 union support subsided and hit an all-time low of 48 percent in 2009.
Since 2016, union approval has steadily increased and is now 20 percentage points above the historical low. today, they like us, and only in overheard conversations of the most dedicated union haters will you hear us characterized as "labor goons" or "thugs".
Approval has increased among nearly all major demographic subgroups since 2016. Currently, 86 percent of union members approve of unions.
In addition, approval is relatively high among young adults aged 18-34 (77 percent) and those with annual household incomes under $40,000 (72 percent).
Gallup says Democrats like us most. Their latest approval of 90 percent is the highest it has been in the past two decades and is up seven points since last year. At the same time, Republicans (47 percent) and independents (66 percent) approval is essentially unchanged, and that's not bad. Each partisan group's current approval of unions is more than 20 points higher than its lowest approval rating in years from 2001-2020.
It is also interesting that our approval rating is now better than those of both 2020 presidential candidate - Biden or Trump - during the 2020 campaign.
These are ratings we haven't seen cumulatively for at least 50 years. The labor movement can't afford not to take advantage of them.
When approval is as high as it now is, problems that have plagued organized labor since the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Law was passed in 1947 could be eliminated, or at the least mitigated.
The country could possibly be rid of so-called right-to-work laws, misclassification of workers, wage theft, and so on. It could also mean an influx of active, interested millennials. Halleluiah!
Be wise, organize.
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