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Labor Unions Are Surging in Popularity

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Labor unions are growing more popular even though working people are coming under increasing attack from right-wing lawmakers who dominate American politics.

Sixty-one percent of adults approve of unions, the highest percentage since 2003, a new Gallup poll shows. Union support is up 5 percentage points since Gallup’s 2016 survey.

Support for the labor movement plunged during the recession that gripped the nation in the waning days of the George W. Bush presidency and hobbled the economy through much of President Barack Obama’s first term. That’s now a thing of the past. 

“Unions have regained the approval of the American people after dropping during the Great Recession,” Gallup reports, adding that labor support is up 13 percentage points since the all-time low of 48 in 2009. 

That’s not all. Thirty-nine percent of adults Gallup polled this year – a new high – say unions must have greater influence.

These results are based on an Aug. 2-6 survey of 1,017 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted over land lines and cell phones. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The Gallup poll is not an outlier. In January, the Pew Research Center found a nearly identical level of public support for unions – 60 percent – and said it was the highest in a decade.

More and more Americans realize that it’s labor unions that fight for the economic freedom of working people, not right-wing politicians.

AFSCME – one of the few unions that grew last year – has long argued that these lawmakers throw around the word “freedom,” but in truth pursue policies that would undercut the freedom of working people to enjoy economic security and stability.

Economic freedom means more than earning just enough to pay the bills. It means the freedom to support our families financially during crises, the freedom to take time off to care for our elderly parents and take our children to doctor’s appointments and parent-teacher conferences, the freedom to retire with dignity, and so much more.

AFSCME and other unions give working people the power in numbers to secure and protect these freedoms. And the public is catching on.