Favorable views of labor unions have plummeted since 2007, amid growing public skepticism about unions’ purpose and power. Currently, 41% say they have a favorable opinion of labor unions while about as many (42%) express an unfavorable opinion. In January 2007, a clear majority (58%) had a favorable view of unions while just 31% had an unfavorable impression.
In recent years, positive attitudes about labor unions have declined significantly across most demographic groups. The largest change has come among those 65 and older. Currently 29% of this group says they have a favorable opinion of unions, down 31 points from 60% in 2007. Notably, those younger than 30 are the only age group in which a majority (53%) expresses a favorable view of unions; even so, far more young people (66%) expressed a positive opinion two years ago.
While this trend is consistent with last year’s Gallup poll finding that a majority of Americans disapproved of unions, it also seems to be a continuation of more bad news for union bosses after a year of bad news.
Shortly after President Obama’s inauguration, union bosses were confident that their agenda would be immediately enacted. However, after 13 months, their number one legislative goal, the job-destroying and hallucinogenically-named Employee Free Choice Act, is all but dead; their number two issue, the nationalization of America’s health care, has become a lightening rod; and, almost as bad, their own members, as well as the American public are turning on them.
Despite all of this, with the 2010 mid-term elections looming right around the corner, the worst may yet be coming for union bosses.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776
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