Public Opinion of Unions Remains Near Quarter-Century Low

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U.S. public opinion of labor unions rose slightly in the past year, though remains far below 2007 levels, as Americans continue to question organized labors' effect on U.S. productivity, according to a Pew Research report released Thursday.

About 45% of Americans had a favorable view of unions, up from 41% a year ago, though down sharply from 58% in 2007, according to the report, which cited a survey of almost 1,400 adults last week. More than half of those surveyed said unions had a positive effect on working conditions and benefits, but only a third said unions improved workplace productivty or helped keep jobs in the U.S.

The results appear to reflect Americans' ambivalence towards unions as unemployment rates remain high and many jobs are shipped overseas by companies looking to save on labor costs. U.S. unemployment fell to 9% last month, though almost 14 million people remain out of work, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Americans had a slightly more positive view of business corporations, with 47% of those polled having a favorable view. That number was unchanged from three years ago, according to the Pew Poll.

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