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Poll: Strong Support for Collective Bargaining

Yet Americans disconnected between collective bargaining and having a union

Kris LaGrange's picture
Apr 15, 2021

Recent polling shows that the Labor movement may have a public relations problem. This comes after polling from Morning Consult shows a wide disconnect between the favorability of labor unions and collective bargaining.

The poll, which was conducted from April 9-12 as unions were in the headlines for the Amazon union vote, found that 73% of people somewhat or fully supported employees' right to bargain collectively for workplace conditions such as pay, health care, and time off. That includes 89% of Democrats and 59% of Republicans.

However, when voters were asked about labor unions and not asked about collective bargaining the level of support dropped to 54%. The drop was seen in both Democrats who fell 20% to just 69% while Republican’s support for unions fell to 37%.

The poll shows that there is a growing disconnect among the average American about what unions do. For decades business groups have successfully portrayed unions as corrupt and money-grubbing and that seems to have made its way into the larger feelings about unions. It was also shown during the recent Amazon vote in Bessemer Alabama, where Payday Report’s Mike Elk reported meeting many workers who said that they didn’t know enough about unions to feel comfortable joining one. Amazon was successful in pushing this message often telling workers that all the union was interested in were dues money.

While there is a large divide, the poll did show that a majority of Americans support labor unions. The 54% of support is almost the same as in April of 2020 when Morning Consult found that 56% of people backed unions and 77% of people supported workers right to collectively bargain.

Morning Consult also asked voters if they had heard of the Amazon vote and 47% said they had seen, read, or heard “a lot” or “some” news on the union vote. Another 37% said that they had heard about President Biden’s pledge to raise taxes on billionaires like Jeff Bezos to pay for his infrastructure plan.

A poll released earlier in the month by the AFL-CIO and GBAO found wide support for organizing Amazon, with 77% saying they support it, including 55% of Republicans, 79% of Independents, and 96% of Democrats.

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