Americans’ approval of labor unions hits near 60-year high: Gallup

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Sixty-eight percent of Americans approve of labor unions, according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

That’s the highest percentage Gallup has recorded since 1965, when 71 percent of Americans said they approved of labor unions. It’s a slight uptick from recent years, and far above the all-time low 48 percent mark from 2009. 

Union approval increased among nearly all demographic subgroups since 2016, except among union members, whose approval fell to 86 percent from a recent high of 93 percent in 2019.

Gallup found that 90 percent of Democrats approve of unions, the best mark in two decades. Two-thirds of independents and 47 percent of Republicans approve of unions, the highest percentage in recent years, according to the poll.

Labor unions capitalized on the findings Thursday, using them to renew calls on Congress to pass the PRO Act, sweeping pro-union legislation that would make it easier for workers to organize.

“This polling data should send a clear message to Congress that union jobs are vital as we re-emerge from this pandemic with a stronger economy that is built upon the principles of fairness and equality,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement.

“The writing is on the wall, and it is time for Congress to respond to public opinion and the will of their constituents by passing the PRO Act,” she added. 

The union-backed bill passed the House in March mostly along party lines but stalled in the 50-50 Senate amid GOP opposition. Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who has not endorsed the PRO Act, and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) have insisted that they will not change the 60-vote legislative filibuster to pass Democratic priorities, despite coming under pressure from unions to do so.

The PRO Act is meant to counter right-to-work laws and corporations’ aggressive anti-union campaigns that labor advocates say have contributed to declining union membership. 

The Gallup poll found that 7 percent of respondents are members of a labor union, a similar figure to recent years. 

Gallup surveyed 1,006 adults between Aug. 2-17. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Tags Gallup Joe Manchin Kyrsten Sinema Labor poll right-to-work Unions
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