In the past decade, polls have reflected that Americans’ approval of labor unions is steadily increasing. This trend has remained consistent since the recovery after the Great Recession in 2007. A recent Gallup poll found that labor union approval is at 65%, its highest in years. This data indicates that collective bargaining is an increasingly popular practice in the United States.

Polling data has shown that labor union favorability is highly dependent on the current state of the economy. The better the economic circumstances, the more favorably these groups are viewed. What’s interesting about this poll is that it was conducted during a time of economic hardship for many. But that doesn’t seem to correlate with the views about labor unions, and instead shows that maybe the relationship was never causal in the first place. Perhaps public opinion is genuinely improving over time.

2/3 of Americans support labor unions – The highest in decades

2/3 of Americans support labor unions - The highest in decades

One factor that could potentially explain this is that many labor union workers were frontline workers during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses, grocery clerks, and other similar professionals, who are members of unions, risked their health and safety to provide for their fellow citizens. The recent Gallup poll shows that those efforts are being recognized and appreciated.

A decreased percentage of labor union members in recent years hasn’t negatively affected their bargaining power, however, as more strikes are taking place than ever before. Labor union leaders hope that public perception and favorability of unions continues to increase even after the pandemic’s spread slows. In the meantime, however, unions continue to grow in popularity across the U.S. 

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