09/07/2022 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/07/2022 16:01
It's been nearly 60 years since approval for unions in the U.S. has been this high.
More than 70% of Americans now approve of labor unions. Those are the findings of a Gallup poll released this morning, and they shouldn't be surprising.
Why? U.S. workers see unions as critical to fixing our nation's broken workplace-where most workers have little power or agency at work.
The pandemic revealed much about work in this country. We saw countless examples of workers performing essential jobs-such as health care and food service. They were forced to work without appropriate health and safety gear and certainly without pay commensurate with the critical nature of the work they were doing.
Those conditions, however, pre-dated the pandemic. The pandemic merely exposed these decades old anti-worker dynamics. Clearly, as the new poll and recent data on strikes and union organizing shows, workers today are rejecting these dynamics and awakening to the benefits of unions.
Nonunion workers are forced to take their jobs-accept their employer's terms as is-or leave them. Unions enable workers to have a voice in those terms and set them through collective bargaining.
We know the powerful impact unions have on workers' lives, and broader effects on communities and on our democracy.
Here's a run-down based on the Economic Policy Institute's extensive research on unions :
The 17 U.S. states with the highest union densities:
Equity and Equality
The growing approval of unions is playing out on the ground with more workers seeking to exercise their collective bargaining rights.
Data from the National Labor Relations Board recently analyzed by Bloomberg Law show the exponential increase in election petitions being filed. While the Gallup poll states that most nonunion workers do not respond that they want to join a union, clearly workers are petitioning for union election at elevated rates.
And workers have increasingly felt empowered to fight for what they want.
We were already seeing signs of workers being willing to strike to demand better wages and working conditions. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed an upsurge in major strike activity in 2018 and 2019, marking a 35-year high.
We are experiencing a labor enlightenment of sorts in this country, one in which workers are fed up with an economy and workplace that does not work for them. With approval for unions at the highest since 1965, there is a growing realization that unions can potentially make both work better for all.