Decline in labor unions ‘bad’ for workers, Americans say

Labor union membership is on the decline, and a majority of American workers don’t think that’s a good thing.

In 1954 more than 34% of U.S. workers belonged to a labor union, according to data from the Congressional Research Service. In 2017, just 10.7% did, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Half of American workers, however, view that decline in union membership as a negative thing. According to a new survey from the Pew Research Center, 51% of respondents said the large reduction in union representation has been bad for working individuals, compared with only 35% who said it has been “mostly good.”

More Democrats than Republicans were likely to say the decline in labor organization membership was bad, and younger Americans, under the age of 30, were also more likely to express the negative view.

Last week, a small group of workers at Boeing’s South Carolina facility voted to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) union, a rare victory for labor organizations in the country’s most anti-union state.

Meanwhile, the majority of Americans held a favorable view of business corporations, with 53% expressing a positive view, compared with only 35% seven years ago.