Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Majority of Public Agrees Labor Unions Needed

Nearly two thirds (64%) of Americans agree that labor unions are necessary to protect the working person, while 33% disagree, according to the 2012 political values survey. Positive views of labor unions have stabilized, after declining by 13 points from 2003 to 2009.

Republicans have grown increasingly skeptical of the need for labor unions. In 2003, 62% of Republicans said labor unions were necessary to protect workers – that fell to 53% in 2007 and 44% in 2009. Currently, 43% of Republicans agree that labor unions are necessary, while 54% disagree.

The belief that labor unions are needed also fell among independents from 2003 to 2009, from 76% to 58%. Today, 61% of independents say unions are needed to protect the working person. Democrats remain strong supporters of labor unions: eight-in-ten agree that they are necessary, little changed from recent years.

There has been less change over time in opinions about whether labor unions are too powerful. Currently, 57% agree that “labor unions have too much power.” That is little changed from 2009 (61%), or from the first political values survey in 1987 (59%). Read More