Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Unions “don’t live by polls”; Members Do

On the front page of today’s Investors Business Daily, Sean Higgins details how labor unions have refocused their efforts on political activity in an effort to stave off extinction. The trouble, Higgins points out, is that for all the money they’ve spent electing labor-friendly Democrats in Congress, unions haven’t done much to improve their popularity with workers.

In a poll we conducted earlier this year, 82 percent of non-unionized employees said they don’t want their job unionized. And a recent Gallup poll found that 51 percent of Americans believe that unions “mostly hurt” the economy, which is a 15 percent raise in the last three years.

In response, AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka responded, “We don’t live by polls.” The trouble, of course, is that their members do live by polls–because polls represent the opinion of their current and potential members.

Our poll and the Gallup poll underline labor’s fundamental problem: no matter how much money they spend, unions are an outmoded, unresponsive, unpopular institution that’s stuck in the past.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union FactsEFAC