Seven in 10 Americans support unions, the highest level of support for organized labor since 1965, according to new data from market research firm Gallup.
But Texas and other Southern states lag far behind the rest of the United States in unionized workplaces.
Gallup collected data last year and this year and found that union membership in the South is 5%, compared to 10% or more in the rest of the United States. In Texas, his 3.8% of workers were union members in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A string of recent union victories at high-profile companies is believed to have boosted popular support for organized workers among Americans. It unionized at Jaws and Chipotle and expanded into Amazon, Starbucks, Apple and REI, employers that have long resisted unionization.
According to Gallup, support for unions was at its highest in the 1950s, with three out of four Americans saying they supported it. The only time his approval rating fell below 50% was in 2009, but it has improved 13 years later and is now where he was nearly 60 years ago. His approval rating this year is up from 64% before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Economists say a tight labor market tends to give workers more leverage to form unions and demand higher wages and better working conditions.
“Unless the labor market cools significantly, there will continue to be a lot of workers wanting collective bargaining power,” said Guy Berger, chief economist at LinkedIn.
Still, a cooling economy doesn’t necessarily undo the cultural shifts that have made unions more popular, especially among young, college-educated workers.
“Will the labor movement be affected by the slowdown? Absolutely,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist at Zip Recruiter. “When people get nervous about the availability of alternatives, they are less likely to rock the boat. Do you think this moment caused lasting change? Yes. .”
Despite a 56% increase in union election applications nationwide in the first three quarters of fiscal 2022, labor experts say many of the victories at major employers such as Amazon and Starbucks are mostly symbolic. , says it covers just a few of these companies. huge workforce. Meanwhile, union support has steadily increased, but membership in the United States fell last year. Only one of his ten workers is a union member.
This summer, Starbucks at Mockingbird Station employees formed their first labor union in Dallas.
“There is still a big gap between this recent wave of organizing and the long-term trend of national membership,” said John Logan, a professor of labor studies at San Francisco State University. “The real significance of these campaigns is not the sheer number of new members, but the number of new members in some sections of the workforce, especially among the young, politicized, educated and low-income workers. It’s about generating excitement, optimism and inspiration in the wage services sector.
According to the Bloomberg Act, unions won 541 elections in the first half of 2022, with more than 43,150 workers, the highest number of union wins in nearly two decades.
In Texas last year, 454,000 workers were unionized. An additional 117,000 wage and salary workers were not union members but were represented by unions or covered by employee unions or contracts. Only Carolina and Utah had lower union membership than Texas.
Lydia Saad, director of U.S. research at Gallup, said employees in Southern states were one-third less likely to become union members, regardless of whether they worked in the private or public sector. said. Gallup also found that his 40% of union members considered their membership “very important.”
The Washington Post via Bloomberg contributed to this story.