Public Opinion of Unions Remains Near Quarter-Century Low

U.S. public opinion of labor unions rose slightly in the past year, though remains far below 2007 levels, as Americans continue to question organized labors' effect on U.S. productivity, according to a Pew Research report released Thursday.

About 45% of Americans had a favorable view of unions, up from 41% a year ago, though down sharply from 58% in 2007, according to the report, which cited a survey of almost 1,400 adults last week. More than half of those surveyed said unions had a positive effect on working conditions and benefits, but only a third said unions improved workplace productivty or helped keep jobs in the U.S.

The results appear to reflect Americans' ambivalence towards unions as unemployment rates remain high and many jobs are shipped overseas by companies looking to save on labor costs. U.S. unemployment fell to 9% last month, though almost 14 million people remain out of work, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Americans had a slightly more positive view of business corporations, with 47% of those polled having a favorable view. That number was unchanged from three years ago, according to the Pew Poll.

Learn about investing from the comfort of your own home.

Portfolio Basics

Take the first steps to building your portfolio.

View Course »

Investment Strategies

Learn the strategies you need to build a winning portfolio

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

50 Comments

Filter by:
notanaxkiller

The people that i know , know that unions are the only thing between them, and below minimum wage jobs. Maybe you are talking to the wrong people. Try talking to some people working for nothing, already.

February 23 2011 at 8:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
JOSEPH SPENCER

If the genral public knew the trash that the teachers have to put up with most would find another line of work. The stupid parents that think it is the teachers fault the Junior fails his courses are about 75%. The adminstration fails the teachers by not getting rid of the troublemakers once and for all. They will not do this as they would lose federal money.
Before you blame the teacher for your kid failing get your kid straighted out. The first thing that states and the federal goverment want to do in lean times is cut money to education. No Child Left Behind is a joke just pass the little jerks where they can get on welfare and food stamps which is a way of life for a lot of parents. I am retired from a larg company and 80% of the young people, supposed to be high educated, can not fill out an application correctly.

February 19 2011 at 7:58 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
spookyfries

the popularity of unions or lack of it is nothing more than a gauge of the success of newscorp in brainwashing the weak minded. Beginning with Reagan's assault on PATCO, American workers are giving back every benefit union members organized, fought and died to preserve. If you're salaried, you work as many hours as the boss says, nothing extra for overtime, no paid vacations, no job security, and it will get worse. Your pay will diminish to nothing, your job will eventually outsource, you'll get no pay raises, no benefits and if corporations have complete control, you won't be compensated for on the job injury and workplaces won't have to be safe.


Today, that's the standard and even that is slipping, and the reason is now we have 7% union membership instead of the 25% we had when America was prosperous and paid for itself, back before reagan when deficits mattered, and rich people had to pay taxes too.

Liberalism created America, wrote the bill of rights and won America's wars. Republicans are CORPORATIST, and not in any way 'conservative'. They are a party of atavism, not conservatism. No vet wants to abolish the VA, and republicans openly advocate such abolition, so the notion that the vets would be that suicidal smells like newscorp brainwashing.

February 18 2011 at 5:56 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
rpic436842

Public Opinion or more lies from the Bought and paid for media. Here's a public opinion, Wall Street is full of crooks and con men.

February 18 2011 at 5:32 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rpic436842's comment
crmjrd

What is going on right now in Wisconsin shows how the Democrats are bought and paid for by Unions. Obama's gang of thugs are being bused in to make protest look bigger than it really is. Noone who is paid with taxpayer dollars should belong to a Union. They negotiate these big benefits with politicians who are only interested in their vote. Get them all out or we will go broke!

February 18 2011 at 5:30 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to crmjrd's comment
edeebee5

and who, exactly buys the Republican party?? Koch brothers, big iol, big pharma. That is better?

February 22 2011 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ronandjen2

Ok...Daily Finance is AOL....Obama lovers. Look above...Sobering message for U.S. economy. Employers cut 85000 jobs. BUT, BUT....RECENT GAINS FOR LABOR UNIONS! Game over my friends. You now pay your way. Stay union, but stay out of private sector non union employees pockets! Pelosi is sitting in the back of the car now!

February 18 2011 at 3:18 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
rjbhighc

With out Unions !! What makes you think how many Companys would offer a Pension ? NONE , that's right . Think about it . Most Companys don't give a HOOT about there workers . The word is GREET , and they love to stick it to there workforce . How many Millions does a CEO need ? Wake up FOLKS !

February 18 2011 at 2:48 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rjbhighc's comment
Gumby

Unions are generally organizations of best talented workers that is most capable to provide best products and services. We depend on the quality works of unions but we must see bottom lines as practically all of us are shareholders in corporations, and taxpayers to governments, etc. There is accountabilty issues that always dogs us everywhere. You can take pensions, benefits, etc and make beef with unions all day and what they left for us at the bottom. There is a few glaring examples of union arrogrance here and there while there is many other good unions that will end up too costly to maintain. We just can no longer afford unions as we knew them due to mounting future obligations to unions like entitlements on top of pretty basic Social Security and Medicare among others. We can not afford such fancy icings that unions had come to expect for themselves after their lifetimes of explemary contributions to American quality and service! I guess that union workers probably no longer have rights to lifetime employment because long stay put careers build up too costly retirement obligations in the end. Union workers have to be replaced with fresh blood after ten years or so so to help diffuse the long run future obligations that is already befallen to taxpayers as well as consumers of America and the world. Unions tend to be well dug with extensive grapevine systems of resistance and stubbornesss.

February 18 2011 at 12:28 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Gumby's comment
ronandjen2

Gumby: They are also well dug in because we have a democrat in the white house. He was bought and paid for by the unions and he has given them billions back in return and would have continued without republicans taking the majority in the house. He knows his only hope is for unions to finance his re election which is his main concern now after spending 2 years on Obamacare and sinking us 5 trillion more in debt. He has spent more than every president from George Washington through Bush combined!! Why do you think that old thug wannabe SEIU president has been to the whitehouse more than any other visitor?!

February 18 2011 at 12:58 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
Trevor

"right to lifetime employment"?

February 18 2011 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
russeolson

"Make good money $5 a day ... Make any more I'd move away." Maybe those you people that are bashing Unions would like to go work for the "Company Store". The fact is the Unions came about to protect workers rights. The Republicans would like to go back to the days before Unions so that the CEO's can take a larger piece of the pie (no need to grow the pie if I can have a larger piece). Another fact it is Bankers and Speculators that are destoying this Country (what do they produce besides large bonuses for themselves). Those are the people that should be paying for this Recession not the Middle Class (the people that made this Country great). But keep listening to Beck and Rush and things will keep getting worse for the average citizen.

February 18 2011 at 11:54 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to russeolson's comment
ronandjen2

Enjoy your unions, but why do non union members have to give you our money?! GM still owes billions. GMAC filed bankruptcy and to get rid of the billions tax payers money lent to them! GMAC now goes under the name of Alloy funded by Obama via our tax dollars. You got paid by tax payers money. ENJOY YOUR UNION, BUT AGAIN, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE TAX PAYER MONEY? WHY DON`T YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES~ THERE IS NO MORE MONEY! CHINA IS SAYING THEY CAN`T KEEP LOANING TO OBAMA. WE ARE OUT OF PAPER TO PRINT MORE! Honest to God...I cannot understand why you people don`t get it! Money doesn`t fall out of the damn sky! Thank God for Fox news which is the # 1 rated news show. Why is it number 1 by far russeolson? Can you figure that answer out?

February 18 2011 at 12:12 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
ronandjen2

Dennis: You think you might use spell check on your post. Evidently when you joined your union you didn`t have to fill out an application. Wow! LOL!

February 18 2011 at 11:54 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ronandjen2's comment
Dennis

RONANDJEN2 YOU ARE RIGHT I DID NOT HAVE TO FILL OUT A APP WHEN I WENT TO WORK 35 YEARS AGO AND I STAYED WITH THE SAME CO AND NOW I AM RETIRED AT 54 YEARS OLD MAKING MORE RETIRED THEN I DID WORKING AND NONE OF MY PENSION CAME FROM THE GOV OR YOU I PAID INTO IT FOR 35 YEARS MYSELF I GUESS UNLIKE YOU I HAD A GREAT UNION JOB IN THE TRUCKING IND AND WORKED VERY HARD FOR WHAT I GET SO ALL I CAN SAY IS GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR MIN WAGE JOB O YES I DO HAVE TO PAY 300.00 A MONTH FOR MY HEALTH INS AND A 25.00 CO PAY . I WILL PRAY THAT YOU GET HELP AND SOME DAY YOU MAY BE ABLE TO SEE AND LEARN WHAT IS REALLY GO ON IN THIS COUNTRY. AS FOR THE SPELLING PLEASE FORGIVE ME I DID NOT FINISH HIGH SCHOOL
DENNIS

February 18 2011 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply