Sunday, September 06, 2009

First Time Ever: < 50% Approve of Labor Unions


PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup finds organized labor taking a significant image hit in the past year. While 66% of Americans continue to believe unions are beneficial to their own members, a slight majority now say unions hurt the nation's economy. More broadly, fewer than half of Americans -- 48%, an all-time low -- approve of labor unions, down from 59% a year ago (see top chart above). These results are from the 2009 installment of Gallup's annual Work and Education survey, conducted Aug. 6-9.

The 48% of Americans now approving of unions represents the first sub-50% approval since Gallup first asked the question in the 1930s. The previous low was 55%, found in both 1979 and 1981. While approval of unions has declined since 2008 among most major demographic and political groups, the biggest drop has been among political independents (see bottom chart above).

21 Comments:

At 9/06/2009 9:38 PM, Blogger vakeraj said...

It's time to outlaw the public labor unions and dismember the AFSCME.

 
At 9/06/2009 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AFSCME are bad, but the SEIU are worse. There's not a week when they aren't on strike or threatening one somewhere. Then there's the NEA, AFT, and the police, firefighter, nurses, transit workers and corrections officer's unions who have such a stranglehold on government that they get everything they want, holding cities hostage with vital services. All public sector unions need to be banned.

It isn't that they shouldn't be able to protect their workers, but time and again they get contracts which are unsustainable in municipal budgets. 100% of high-three pay for life after 20 years with 100% medical - it's so generous they ought to blush.

 
At 9/06/2009 10:21 PM, Blogger Matt Young said...

When we deflate we see what the real constraints really are. A middle class household cutting costs soon runs up against the local property taxes and discovers the shadow government of the public service unions.

 
At 9/07/2009 1:47 AM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

I'm surprised that it's as high as 48%

 
At 9/07/2009 6:54 AM, Blogger 1 said...

Interesting how much of a drop labor unions have seen in their popularity...

From Rasmussen Reports dated September 01, 2008: While most associate the holiday with the end to summer, 55% also have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of labor unions. That figure includes 19% with a Very Favorable opinion. Thirty-five percent (35%) hold a negative view....

 
At 9/07/2009 9:40 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I think this shows a huge problem. If 48% approve of a union why do only 12.4% belong to unions? Maybe they are afraid of getting illegally fired if they try to form a union?

There's not much downside risk for an employer who illegally fires a worker for organizing when they might have to just pay back pay three or four years later if and when the NLRB rules on the unfair labor practice. Economics teach us that people respond to incentives. Likewise, they respond to illegal disincentives such as getting fired, too!

 
At 9/07/2009 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my first jobs as an adult was working 20 hours a week at a Fedco while I went to school full-time. I was required to be a member of the labor union to work there. Despite being a due-paying member, my caring union leaders negotiated to cut my maximum weekly hours to 12 per week and reduce my pay by 35 cents an hour.

It almost forced me to temporarily drop out school, but I was able to scramble and get a non-union job selling vitamins at a GNC, where I made more money and had an occasional oppotunity to work additional hours if I wanted to cover for another employee from time to time.

If one of my current co-workers started "organizing", I would do all in my power to make sure that co-worker was fired before he succeeded in putting my livelihood in the hands of greedy union negotiators.

 
At 9/07/2009 10:07 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

anonymous 9:52,

Do you break all laws or just the ones you don't agree with?

 
At 9/07/2009 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO ONE should be allowed to organize against the people of the United States.

Public sector unions should be abolished. Now!

 
At 9/07/2009 11:16 AM, Blogger Cabodog said...

I think the failure of the auto sector has brought the high cost of labor unions into the spotlight. California, municipalities and their outrageous benefits/retirement packages are next.

 
At 9/07/2009 11:41 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Cabodog,

Many of the problems the auto unions and the traditional way of doing business are facing are the same problems that Social Security and Medicare are facing (too many people taking out and not enough people putting in). Are you financially prepared to do without either one?

If you can do without those government programs, you are in the minority. Over half the population do not have pensions. Over half the people do not have savings for retirement (401-ks or IRAs). If people do not have pensions or savings, and Social Security and Medicare does not have enough revenue coming in, where is the money going to come from when they can no longer work?

Whether its unions, corporations, municipalities, or private citizens, we can't keep shoving our current problems into the future. It’s easy to blame popular demons such as labor unions for society’s problems; however, the problem is much much deeper than that.

 
At 9/07/2009 12:05 PM, Blogger 1 said...

"If you can do without those government programs, you are in the minority. Over half the population do not have pensions"...

Well Walt G that's still not enough of a reason for the federal government to steal from the productive just so the parasitic can have a little something later on in life...

"If people do not have pensions or savings, and Social Security and Medicare does not have enough revenue coming in, where is the money going to come from when they can no longer work?"...

What does it matter?

Why weren't these people back in the day (regardless of which generation we're talking about) fighting the obvious lawlessness of these nanny state programs?

These people are getting EXACTLY the government and government services they deserve...

 
At 9/07/2009 1:47 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

1: I agree. That's why I am working or have contracts for four jobs--only 1 of which is unionized. I am a firm believer you supply your own luck, fairness, and ultimate happiness.

As long as you are physically and mentally able, you gotta look out for number 1--right?

 
At 9/07/2009 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walt G, I don't break any laws.

If a co-worker is behaving in a way that jeopardizes my job, then I start by asking that co-worker to stop being such a screw-up. If that doesn't work, I talk to the boss about that co-worker.

I would never suggest my employer should fire an employee for trying to organize into a union. I'm just saying there are lots of reasons to fire someone if they were to come to light.

 
At 9/07/2009 5:51 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

anonymous 5:11,

Sneaky actions like you are suggesting is one of the reasons labor unions started in the first place.

Getting your co-workers fired can be dangerous. We live in a "postal" society today, so it's best to leave the firing task to your boss. Believe me, it is not fun to have an irate employee pull a gun or knife on you.

 
At 9/07/2009 7:42 PM, Blogger 1 said...

"As long as you are physically and mentally able, you gotta look out for number 1--right?"...

Well Walt G we are all ultimately responsible for ourselves if we are talking about adults...

 
At 9/07/2009 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Getting your co-workers fired can be dangerous."

That way lies madness. I have no power to hire and fire, so I leave it to the boss to make those decisions, of course. However, if some jackass is abusing his terms employment and threatening certain unspoken privileges for the rest of us; I will deal with it in a proactive manner.


If some jackass is capable of "going postal", so be it. The only thing worse than dying at work would be working in fear of some jackass going postal.

 
At 9/08/2009 6:06 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Anonymous 8:21: "Unspoken privileges?" You better get those unspoken privileges spoken. They have a way of disappearing or only applicable for certain people--like the boss' son.

If your bosses are not smart enough to hire the right people or figure out on their own who is not doing their job, you should probably find other employment instead of being a rat. You will be happier. Your fellow workers will be happier.

Every place of employment has workers who are capable of going postal. It’s not always some “jackass.” It could just be someone who lost a kid or a spouse and is not handling it very well that day. People snap for their own reasons that do not always make sense to others. You don't have to be afraid of that--just be aware of it and prepare for it.

 
At 9/08/2009 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You better get those unspoken privileges spoken."

Oh, they are spoken. You see, everyone here pulls their weight, including the employer. Need to come in late? Leave early? Take off in the afternoon to coach a soccer game? Work from home while watching a sick kid or getting the car serviced?

It's not a problem.

Need a few extra sick days or vacation time?

No one's counting.

This is possible because everyone pulls their weight and works together. All it takes is one slacker to start coming in late, leaving early, and calling in sick most Fridays and Mondays to jeopardize the current arrangement for everyone.

You like having things "spoken"? Well, it's not being a rat to approach that co-worker and tell them they better jerk the slack out. If they don't want to be a contributing member of the team, then the team certainly can make that happen for them.

 
At 9/08/2009 9:44 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I like things that are understood. You can't meet expectations if you don't know what they are.

Whatever works for your group is fine. It sounds like your situation is optimal. Keep up the good work. You are lucky--at this time, but things can quickly change and so do your options.

 
At 9/13/2009 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

god almighty, what a sorry state of affairs we have reached.

 

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