Labor unions have been making headlines across the country lately, from stories about the narrowly-averted strike of union railroad workers to companies like Chipotle seeing increases in unionization efforts.
The topic of unions is a complicated – and polarizing – one. However, recent studies suggest that overall approval of labor unions and membership is nearly the highest it has ever been. Membership and interest levels are also up.
71 percent approval
According to a recent annual Work and Education survey from Gallup, over 70 percent of Americans approve of labor unions.
Some reasons behind the uptick in approval could stem from:
- Recent victories of unions
- Low unemployment rates
- The shift in the power balance between employers and employees during the pandemic
- Increased prioritization of benefits and workplace safety for workers in light of the pandemic
- The current political environment
The combination of these and other factors have made it easier for more people to see the benefits and effectiveness of unionization.
Unionization in Michigan
In Michigan, we have higher union membership numbers than the national average – 13.3 percent compared to 10.3 percent.
Recently, a Michigan Chipotle became the first location of the popular chain to vote for unionization. Several Starbucks locations in the state have held successful union votes, as well.
In other words, labor unions are a crucial – and potentially growing – part of Michiganders’ lives and livelihoods. And you or someone in your family could be more likely to have union questions or labor law concerns if you are already in a union or are in an occupation considering it. Talking to an attorney or labor union rep can help you get the answers you need to make informed decisions about your rights and opportunities.