Union Approval Ratings are Increasing Despite Setbacks
Based on a recent Gallup poll, union approval ratings are 64%, nearly a 50-year high. Unions have been weakened for a long time. Besides “right-to-work” laws being effective in 27 states, and other contents of Taft-Hartley Act, decisions detrimental to unions recently came down, including AFSCME vs. Janus and Epic Systems Corp. vs Lewis cases. According to a report from Economic Policy Institute (EPI), union representation of workers has decreased from 27% to 11.7% in 2017 since 1979. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), union representation was under 11% last year.
However, BLS revealed more U.S. workers went on strike last year since 1986. Almost half a million workers took part in a major work stoppage in 2018. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler said “In 2018, half a million people walked picket lines… We are heartened by that because workers are ready to take risks. They are tired of seeing what they’re seeing in the economy, and tired of feeling powerless.” Additionally, interest in collective bargaining has not changed much since the 70’s, standing at 60%.
The recovery of the labor movement became a topic in the political race towards the 2020 presidential elections. President Donald Trump shared a tweet through his twitter account, saying:
“Just watched AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on @FoxNews and thought to myself how different he is on TV than he is when he is with me at the White House. Likes what we are doing until the cameras go on. We got robbed on Trade and everything else while his Dems just sat back and watched. NAFTA is the worst Trade Deal ever made – terrible for labor – and Richard let it stand. No wonder unions are losing so much. The workers will vote for me in 2020 (lowest unemployment, most jobs ever), and should stop paying exorbitant $Dues, not worth it!”
Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, said “it’s time to do better” at a closed meeting with representatives from the entire field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates at the beginning of last August. In his speech, Trumka emphasized while President Donald Trump is enacting bad policies for workers, Democratic leaders need to reckon with their own role in creating an unfair economy. He said “both parties” are to blame for a system that caters to the rich.
He added, “We are caught in a web of century-old labor laws that prioritize unchecked corporate greed over all else… We can blame this White House all we want. But this isn’t new.” Trumka remarked, “more often than not, the Republican Party is bad for workers. This president is bad for workers. But let’s be honest about the Democratic Party’s record.” He underlined the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership as Democrat-backed trade deals that were tilted against the working class.
“I believe you can. I believe you will. And working people are hungry for it. But you can’t offer campaign rhetoric or count on workers’ votes simply because you have a ‘D’ next to your name.” Trumka said.
WHAT THE LEFT IS SAYING: Gailen David, on-air-host of the Jet Set:
Trump is a true enemy of the working people.
His administration moved Dep of Agriculture office to Kansas City from DC to force workers to quit
Trump and GOP wants workers defenseless so they can be paid lower wages and fired at-will.
WHAT THE RIGHT IS SAYING: Thomas J. Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch:
Trumka is the epitome of corrupt union boss.