A recent national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, found that Labor Unions are now seeing a more favorable and positive view overall. Labor unions were generally seen as positives, across most demographics throughout the 80s, 90s and 2000s. In the wake of the recession, labor union approvals hit an all-time low around August 2011. The survey seems to indicate that the public is seeing a more positive viewpoint. Surprisingly, the highest support for unions was amongst Millennials, also known as Generation Y. This group, comprised of individuals born in the 1980s to the early 2000s, support labor unions at a rate of 61%, the highest amongst any other demographic, which generally averaged between 45-51%. Despite their overwhelming support for unions, only about 5% of Millennials actually participate in union membership. So what accounts for the approval yet lack of participation? Many cite that while the Millennials believe that unions play a positive role in protecting workers and labor, very few are actually presented with job opportunities that offer labor union membership and support. Overall, Millennials are faced with fewer entry level positions in both private and public sector markets. This combined with reductions in paid internships, shrinking national and local government budgets and delayed retirement by older workers, means that there are fewer overall jobs for less experienced individuals aged 18 to 29 and even fewer opportunities for union membership.
November 4, 2013