Any day off is a happy day.
Meanwhile, Byron York reports that support for labor unions is at an all-time low:
This Labor Day brings word of a new Gallup poll showing that American public support for labor unions has taken a sharp dive in the last year and is at its lowest point since Gallup began polling in 1936.
In response to the question, “Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?” just 48 percent of respondents said they approve, while 45 percent said they disapprove. That’s a steep fall from August 2008, when the numbers were 59 percent approve, 31 percent disapprove, and it’s the first time approval of unions has ever fallen below 50 percent.
Before this year, American support for unions had remained remarkably stable for nearly four decades. In August 2001, in the first months of George W. Bush’s presidency, Gallup’s results for the same question were 60 percent approve, 32 percent disapprove. In August 1997, in Bill Clinton’s second term, they were 60-31. In 1985, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the figures were 58-27. In 1978, during Jimmy Carter’s time in the White House, they were 59-31. And in 1972, during Richard Nixon’s, they were 60-27.
The new poll also shows that many Americans believe the future is bleak for unions. In response to the question, “Thinking about the future, do you think labor unions in this country will become stronger than they are today, the same as today, or weaker than they are today?” 48 percent said unions will become weaker, versus just 24 percent who said unions will become stronger.
And here’s Gallup’s chart:
Support’s been remarkably steady since 1937, just two years after the passage of the Wagner Act, but the drop since late 2008 is nothing short of startling. Coincidentally, that was about the time we elected the most beholden-to-Big-Labor administration in recent history, probably since FDR. And what’s happened since last November?
- The legal rights of bondholders were trampled during the bailouts of GM and Chrysler, largely to benefit UAW pension funds.
- Representatives of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) were allowed to sit-in on a meeting between the federal government and California state officials (who were trying to deal with a massive budget crisis) in which the Obama administration threatened to withhold bailout money unless California maintained the wages of SEIU members, regardless of the best interests of the state as a whole.
- Union thugs affiliated with the SEIU have beaten Americans exercising their constitutional right to free speech to protest ObamaCare at town-hall meetings.
- The Democrats in Congress and the Obama Administration continue to push for the Orwellian “Employee Free Choice Act,” which would end the secret ballot in union elections and which even George McGovern opposes.
- The Administration nominated as Labor Secretary Representative Hilda Solis, who flagrantly violated House ethics rules by acting as treasurer for a pro-union organization lobbying Congress on matters she would be voting on.
And that’s just a few.
I’m not against unions per se: in fact, I belong to one. They serve a useful purpose protecting workers from abusive employers, and the right to collective bargaining -if that’s the workers’ free choice- is a good one. But the stories of corruption in union leadership are legendary (Has anyone found Hoffa yet?), and the thuggish, self-serving actions of the UAW and especially the SEIU are reminding people of the threat of unchecked union power.
We shouldn’t be surprised at the precipitous drop in the public’s opinion of unions; the public seems to be realizing that the Big Unions are helping their own people at everyone else’s expense. On this Labor Day union leaders should be anything but relaxed.
LINKS: Ed Morrissey; Blue Crab Boulevard; Power Line; 247 Things.
UPDATE: Michael Barone has a good analysis of Labor’s drop in popularity. You should read the whole article, but the last paragraph is key:
There’s irony aplenty here. Thanks to the work of Sweeney, Stern and union political organizers, unions entered calendar year 2009 with more political influence than they have had since the 1960s or 1970s. But the way they have deployed that political influence has made the unions more unpopular than they have been in the last 73 years.