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Friday, March 22, 2024

Majority of Americans Agree: Decline of Unions Bad for Country

Pew found that most U.S. adults, especially Democrats, see the trend as bad for working people.

THOR BENSON for Common Dreams

Most Americans think the declining number of unionized workers over the past few decades has been bad for the country, according to a poll released from the Pew Research Center.

Pew found 54% of U.S. adults say the decline has been bad for the country, and 59% say it has been bad for working people. The center found 69% of Democrats think the decline has been bad for the country, and 40% of Republicans felt that way.

"A majority of conservative Republicans (60%) say the decline in organized labor membership has been at least somewhat good for working people, including 24% who say this has been very good," the report states.

"Across ideological groups, large majorities of Democrats say the decline in the percentage of workers represented by unions has been bad for working people. But liberal Democrats (85%) are more likely than conservative and moderate Democrats (66%) to say this."

Union membership dropped to a record low last year—partially thanks to some red states limiting or banning the unionization of government workers. While recent reporting has tracked many stories of people fighting to unionize, only 10% of American adults belong to a union.

Unions have been shown to help reduce income inequality, they help raise the wages of nonunion members, and they can even improve life outside the workplace.

President Joe Biden and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump have both been vying for the support of union workers to some degree, but Trump hasn't been received quite as welcomely as Biden.

"Donald Trump is a scab," United Auto Workers president Shawn Fain said in January when the union endorsed Biden. "Donald Trump is a billionaire, and that's who he represents. If Donald Trump ever worked in an auto plant, he wouldn't be a UAW member. He'd be a company man."

Polls have consistently shown in recent years that Americans support labor unions, so running as a supporter of unions could benefit a presidential nominee. Some Republicans, though, have urged Trump to stay as far away from unions as possible.