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Labor unions’ approval is highest in 17 years because unions stand with working families

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By AFSCME Staff ·

Public approval of labor unions is at its highest level in 17 years, with nearly two out of three Americans (65%) expressing support of unions, according to the latest Gallup poll.

At a time of high unemployment and a public health crisis, 83% of Democrats and nearly half of Republicans (45%) support unions, the poll found. Union members have been on the front lines of the pandemic response and recovery efforts and have fought for federal aid to maintain the essential services that sustain our communities. Moreover, union values are universal values, as labor continues to advocate for expanded health care, retirement security, paid sick leave, worker safety, tax fairness and much more.  

“Labor unions remain overwhelmingly popular because labor unions stand for the priorities of working families nationwide,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said in a press statement.

Union members in America were better prepared for the coronavirus pandemic and have fared better than their nonunionized peers, according to a recent report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The report further illuminates how unions have stood up for working families during our country’s nearly unprecedented public health and economic crisis.

Although public perceptions of unions tend to worsen during periods of economic hardship, as Gallup points out, this year approval remained high even as millions face unemployment. Just days before Labor Day and as the presidential contest enters its final two months, the poll results suggest public approval of unions is likely to remain steady through the election and beyond.

“Unionism was front and center during the presidential primaries, with all Democratic candidates embracing federal legislation that would guarantee collective bargaining rights for public service workers,” Saunders also said. “The Democratic ticket is steadfastly pro-labor – in announcing his candidacy for president last year, Joe Biden proudly called himself ‘a union man.’ With robust public approval providing the wind at our back, we will continue to organize so that all working people can enjoy higher wages, economic security and a better life.”

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