New poll shows 71 percent of Americans approve of Labor unions

Popularity at highest point since 1965


PEOPLE MARCH in the middle of East Pine Street during the “Fight Starbucks’ Union Busting” rally and march in Seattle, Wash. on April 23, 2022. – Jason Redmond/AFP photo

U.S. approval of Labor unions is now at 71 percent – the highest rating in nearly six decades.

The data was collected in a recent Gallup poll on work and education. While that number is similar to last year’s 68 percent union approval rating, it is up from 64 percent before the pandemic and is the highest percentage Gallup has recorded since 1965.

“There’s no excuse for not organizing with an approval rating that high,” said Missouri AFL-CIO President Jake Hummel. “Now is the time to do it. The NLRB has shifted back to a pro-worker majority, we have a card-carrying Labor secretary with Marty Walsh, and this administration is making it easier than ever to organize.”

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the percentage isn’t surprising because U.S. workers see unions as critical to fixing the nation’s broken workplace where most workers have little power at work.

St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White pointed out that voters in Missouri showed their support of unions in 2018 by rejecting Prop A and defeating the so-called “right-to-work (for less)” by a better than two-to-one majority, 67.5 percent to 32.5 percent.

“We proved the popularity of unions here in Missouri in 2018,” White said. “But this latest approval rating of unions is showing employers nationwide that the public most likely would be on the worker’s side.”

The approval rating comes amid a surge of organizing activity at major companies across the county including Amazon, Chipotle and Starbucks where workers have unionized in a demand for higher wages and better working conditions.

In fact, the NLRB reported a 58 percent increase in the number of union representation petitions filed during the first nine fiscal months of 2022, and by May 25, the 2022 petitions exceeded the total number of petitions filed in all of fiscal 2021.

“All of this organizing activity and the wave of workers we’ve seen standing up for themselves has brought unions back into the public eye,” Hummel said. “They see unions as another avenue to explore when seeking equity at the bargaining table.”

White agreed and said, “Workers want a voice on the job and they are realizing that there is power in numbers. Over 20 Starbucks locally have filed for an election. I think these people are just getting tired of getting pushed around and not getting what they deserve on their paycheck.”

Support for Labor unions was highest in the 1950s, when three out of four Americans approved, according to Gallup. Support dipped below 50 percent only once in 2009, but it has improved in the 13 years since.

The pandemic revealed much about work in this country, EPI reports. There were countless examples of workers performing essential jobs such as health care and food service, who were forced to work without appropriate health and safety gear and without pay commensurate with the critical nature of the work they were doing.

Those conditions, however, pre-dated the pandemic, the non-profit economic think has concluded. The pandemic merely exposed these decades-old anti-worker dynamics. Clearly, as the new poll and recent data on strikes and union organizing shows, workers today are rejecting these dynamics and awakening to the benefits of unions.

Hummel said the Missouri AFL-CIO is putting together a statewide organizing committee of industry professionals to discuss best practices in order to organize more workers. For more information on joining the committee, contact Hummel at



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top