This Labor Day 2021 public approval of labor unions is at a generational high. A poll released by Gallup Sept. 2 shows 68% of Americans approve of labor unions, the highest level since 1965. According to the poll, 17% of Americans live in a union household and 10% of Americans with incomes above $40,000 are union members. For those making under $40,000, union support rates at 72%. Union favorability is striking high amongst young Americans (ages 18-34) at 77%.
Through Labor Day members of the union building trades manned the AFL-CIO meet-and-greet and information exhibit at the corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Cooper Street at Minnesota State Fair, back after a COVID-related hiatus in 2020.
LiUNA organizer Octavio Chung Bustamante was one union trades member who worked the fair this year. He said he wasn’t surprised by the high marks in the poll. “It is because people realize we are for good benefits with a good pension. Plus we offer great training for our members so they can do the best possible job.”
Todd Dahlstrom, Organizing/Growth Director of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, thought that through the pandemic worker safety became an issue and unions make a difference for their members. “Having a seat at the table was important to keep workers safe during these trying times the last two years,” he said.
“Essential workers” is a phrase Americans have become familiar with during this era and union trades members have proven themselves to be just that. Added Dahlstrom, “Union trades do all the things that make the world work.”