Good news comes from Gallup–and the good ol’ American public itself–for those business owners and managers who fear that a tidal wave of unionization will increase their costs and rigidize (is that a word? how about comatose-ize?) their workforces. Public support for unions has plunged to the lowest depths ever–just 48 percent of Americans approve of unions, according to a recent Gallup head count.
Let’s put this number in perspective. For starters, just last year support for unions stood at 59 percent, and when the landmark, union-enabling National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) passed and Gallup first asked the question, support was pegged at 72 percent. That poll was in 1937, and support didn’t breach that rarefied stratosphere until 1957, the heyday of American economic might, when it soared to 75 percent.
The previous low of 55 percent was recorded twice–in 1979 and 1981, years of high inflation and recession.
So 48 percent is really historic, and it comes during the nationwide focus on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which may well have been a contributing factor in the plunge in support for labor. Of course, the debacle in Detroit with the creation of Government Motors and Fiat USA with union ownership in the first instance and union favoritism in both cases may also have played a part.