Labor Unions Receive High Marks, Poll Finds

Public perception of labor unions in the United States recently reached nearly a 50-year high.

A Gallup poll released in August found 64 percent of Americans approve of labor unions.

The results are consistent with the results of similar polls conducted in America during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

The new 64 percent union approval rating is among the highest Gallup has recorded in the last 50 years, eclipsed by only three other instances – March 1999 (66 percent), August 1999 (65 percent) and August 2003 (65 percent)..

According to the 2019 survey, 14 percent of Americans reside in a union household, and 10 percent of working adults are personally members of labor unions.

Not surprising, this group produced the highest approval numbers in the recent survey. Among U.S. adults living in a household with a union member, 86 percent indicated they approve of unions, compared to 60 percent approval from adults living in nonunion households.

Union approval in the recent poll saw similar-sized increases among Democrats, independents and Republicans. Since 2009, Gallup said union approval has increased among each party group by 16 or 17 points. Democrats (82 percent) remain far more likely than Republicans (45 percent) to approve of unions, however.

Factors believed to have contributed to the higher public support include the current positive economic conditions and the historically low unemployment rate. Gallup reported some of its lowest union approval ratings during the most recent Great Recession and other poor economic periods in the late 70s and early 80s.

Results for the Gallup poll came from telephone interviews conducted Aug. 1 through Aug. 14, with a random sample of 1,522 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

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