August 25, 2015
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – This year's annual Labor Day Parade should be getting a big boost from a new Gallup Poll showing support for unions is now higher than it has been in the last seven years.
According to the poll released last week, 58 percent of Americans approve of labor unions. The level of support hasn't been this high since 2008, and could be partly reflective of organized labor's stunning victories across the nation in the Fight for $15 movement. Work on the latest Gallup Poll was conducted August 5 thru 9.
Significantly, most of the spiking support for labor unions is coming from women – those hardest hit by chronically low-wage jobs that offer little to no benefits. In the latest Gallup Poll, 63 percent of women surveyed say that they approve of labor unions, while 41 percent say that they want unions to have more power. That's compared to 52 percent and 33 percent of men surveyed respectively.
Women made up 57.2 percent of the working age women population in 2013 – opposed to a 69.7 percent participation rate for men.
By 2022, the number of women in the civilian labor force is expected to increase by 5.4 percent, compared to a 5.6 percent increase in the number of men.
The latest Gallup Poll also found union membership higher among minority workers overall with 24 percent of nonwhites holding union cards, as opposed to 13 percent of whites. The same split also occurs along partly lines between Democrats and Republicans.
Here in town, the New York City Central Labor Council [NYCCLC] is looking at the latest labor figures as confirmation that organized labor is on the right path.
"New York City's workforce is among the best trained, and highest skilled in the nation," NYCCLC President Vincent Alvarez said in a statement. "The Gallup poll reflects what so many working men and women already know: workers deserve a voice on the job, and the right to stand together to collectively bargain for their wages and benefits."
Gallup attributes labor's recovering support to an improved economy over 2008, when organized labor sustained a couple of black eye thanks, in part, to the bailout of two of the Big Three American auto companies.
That sense of resurgence should help bolster this year's Labor Day Parade in New York City. George Gresham, 1199 SEIU President, will be at the head of the parade acting as grand marshal when the festivities kick off at 5th Avenue and 44th Street in Manhattan on September 12. Start time is 10 a.m.