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In 1953, labor union support was at an all-time high among Americans, with an approval rating of 75 percent. In 2003, support for unions remained relatively healthy with a 65 percent approval rating; however, despite the many proven benefits of labor unions, numbers dipped steadily in the years that followed.

Labor Union Support Has Grown Throughout the Past Decade

But over the past decade, we’ve watched labor union support continuously climb. In 2017, Gallup surveyed more than one thousand adults living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Gallup’s method involved a set of randomly selected landline and mobile numbers. According to the Gallup survey results, the labor union support rating was at 61 percent, the highest it has been since 2003.

More Americans want to see labor unions gain influence. But if unions today serve the same purpose for which they were founded, why the sudden increase in interest?

Why Is Labor Union Support & Union Membership on the Rise?

Many experts believe that the rise in labor union support is due to millennials joining the workforce. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are about 400,000 more union members in 2017 than there were in 2016 – all coming from the millennial bracket.

Millennials Are Contributing to the Steady Increase in Labor Union Support

The oldest millennials are closing in on their 40s and likely settled in their careers; however, with the youngest of the demographic now graduating from college and seeking employment, we will see the number of millennials entering the labor force grow steadily. According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey Report, millennials are estimated to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.

Millennials, described by Time as the “Me Me Me Generation,” have gained quite the negative reputation for being self-absorbed, coddled and lazy. Yet, few are buying into the stereotypes surrounding millennials, instead refusing to accept the labels that peg them as “job hoppers.” Recent studies have shown that millennials are as committed to keeping their jobs as their elders.

Millennials Are Utilizing Social Media Platforms to Promote Labor Union Support & Activities

Millennials also have a bigger platform to rally support compared to the older generation. The demographic has access to both online and offline channels. Social media gives all people a network to spread information faster. But because millennials were born in the digital age, they are the most comfortable at leveraging the digital environment to gather support and promote social activism. Leveraging the Internet and social platforms, millennials and the rest of the workforce have a place to advocate labor union membership and promote activity.

Knowing how intense the competition is for their generation, millennials have become increasingly concerned about work security, the lack of advancement opportunities and losing their jobs to automation—essentially, all focal points of labor union support. Millennials are keen on staying employed as much as every other person in the labor force today.

Job Insecurity Rates & Working Conditions Are Responsible for the Increase in Labor Union Support Ratings

Credit millennials with reviving labor union support and membership because of their growing numbers in the workforce and their natural sense of social activism. However, perhaps the reason for the rise in support for labor unions has more to do with increasing job insecurity and the reality that working conditions and labor rights are again under threat. In a world quickly being engulfed by technology, perhaps what millennials have realized is that it’s time to leverage the strength of labor unions and their historical blueprint of championing the working class.

What do you think is causing the rise in approval ratings and support for labor unions? To learn more about labor unions, contact Labor United.