So here’s a big fuckin’ deal: Despite decades of declining union membership (thanks, “right to work” laws!), a new Gallup poll shows that, for the first time since the recession, a majority of Americans like labor unions again:
Americans’ approval of labor unions has jumped five percentage points to 58% over the past year, and is now at its highest point since 2008, when 59% approved. In the interim, the image of organized labor had suffered, sinking to an all-time low of 48% in 2009.
Not only that, but the percentage of Americans who say they’d “like labor unions to have more influence in the country” has increased by double digits. That means Americans want unions flexing their union thug power even more, please! (Sorry, Scott Walker.)
The numbers also suggest that the rightwing “unions are the source of most evil that doesn’t come from blacks and immigrants” message may be in trouble over the long term, if trends continue, which is never a sure bet. (There is your statistics nerd disclaimer, now go ahead and think happy things.) Not only is support for unions much higher among women, but young adults, defined in the poll as “those aged 18 to 34,” are the “most supportive of all age groups.”
Why, you’d almost get the impression that people who are first encountering exactly how shittily they can be treated by employers are more open to the idea of seeking representation.
Another no-big-surprise finding: The one part of the country where only a minority of respondents like unions is the South, where people just love them some low-wage jobs with no security, as long as governors keep promising more businesses will relocate to states that treat workers as disposable.
And while more of us like the concept of unions, the percentage of people who believe that unions’ influence will continue to decline remains about the same as where it’s been since 2011, around 53 percent. So we like unions, but on the whole, we see who’s been making the laws, shake our heads, and hope that if we’re really lucky, we won’t see child labor laws repealed.
One item that’s unchanged by the new poll results: This remains the greatest fuckin’ video about public sector unions on the fuckin’ YouTubes:
It’s the fuckin’ union that works for you. Which is pretty much the whole point.
And while we’re at it, since it’s Friday, and time for our UNION-WON WEEKEND to start, let’s have some Pete Seeger singin’ us some Woody Guthrie:
Oh the ladies’ auxiliary, it’s the best auxiliary that you ever did see.