Support for unions is up in spite of Trump's attempts to crush them

1987

Though conservatives in all branches of government are trying to get rid of unions, they remain overwhelmingly popular.

Despite how much Trump and the rest of the GOP hate them, unions are at their highest level of approval since 2003.

A recent Gallup poll found that 64% of Americans approve of unions. We're closing in on the highest approval rate — 66% — in nearly 50 years.

Part of that approval is thanks to a low unemployment rate. People tend to like unions better when the unemployment rate is low. Unsurprisingly, Democrats like unions quite a bit more than Republicans, but a healthy plurality — 45% — of Republicans approve of unions.

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You wouldn't know there was such high approval from the way the GOP keeps trying to dismantle unions. In the judicial branch, conservatives won a significant victory at the Supreme Court last year when they got the court to rule that public-sector unions can't collect agency fees. The inability to collect fees will decimate union membership, as employees can now get the same benefits the unions negotiate for but without being in the union.

In the legislative branch, right-to-work states — which prohibit making membership in a union a condition of employment — have proliferated. Right-to-work rules undercut the bargaining power of unions, resulting in lower wages in those states versus states that allow for collective bargaining.

And over in the executive branch, things are terrible. Trump has a measure of control over the federal worker unions, and he's doing his best to destroy them. He's got the Department of Justice trying to bust the immigration law judges union because those judges often criticize or rule against the administration's policies. He also attacked all federal employee unions by issuing executive orders designed to make it easier to fire workers and undercut the authority of the unions.

In spite of all of these efforts to demonize and destroy, nearly half of all nonunionized workers surveyed said they would join a union if they had the opportunity to do so.

"Despite relentless anti-union attacks from wealthy corporations, more and more people recognize that unions are a force for progress and national strength, improving the lives of all working families and their communities," Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME, the largest trade union of public employees in the United States, said in a statement. "The labor movement has a powerful wind at its back. And we will carry this momentum into new organizing campaigns and our work in the 2020 elections."

Maybe Trump just hates unions because his approval level is so far below theirs.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.