A few days late but good news all the same!

This Labor Day, we have cause to celebrate. Public support for unions has reached 64 percent in a recent Gallup poll.

Gallup has been asking the public about support for unions since 1936. Since 1967, the polling agency observes, the union approval rating “has only occasionally surpassed 60 percent. The current 64 percent reading is one of the highest union approval ratings Gallup has recorded over the past fifty years.”

To make sense of this trend, we need to take three factors into account: wage stagnation and benefits erosion, the teachers’ strike wave, and the rise of Bernie Sanders.
What changed between 2014 and 2018? We’d be remiss if we ignored the fact that right in the middle of that period, the most pro-union presidential candidate in Democratic Party history ran for president. Bernie Sanders used the massive platform the race guaranteed him to criticize inequality and extol the virtues of unions and collective worker action. Even after he lost the primary, he spent the next several years spreading the same pro-worker, pro-union message, including elevating unions’ demands and materially assisting them in their fights against the boss.