Survey Finds Public Support For Unions
64% support public employees’ right to organize, union-backed survey finds.
Most Wisconsin voters support unions, particularly for health care workers, along with policies to help people recover from the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on health as well as on the economy, according to new survey findings.
“Voters in this state are clamoring for help,” said Mario Brossard of Global Strategy Group, which presented the survey results in a conference call Monday.
Badger State Research, based in Madison, conducted the survey for Global Strategy, which presented the findings along with Wisconsin representatives of the Service Employees International Union. The poll was conducted of 800 Wisconsin registered voters over a five-day period from Nov. 19-24, and had a margin of error of 3.5%.
Overall, unions fared better in the survey than either Democrats or Republicans in the state Legislature. Asked their opinions of Democratic legislators as a group, 42% had a favorable opinion and 45% had an unfavorable opinion, while 40% viewed Republicans favorably and 48% unfavorably.
Labor unions generally were favorably viewed by 52% of people surveyed, as were health care workers’ unions in particular. Support was weaker for teachers’ unions (48% favorable) and for public employees unions (46% favorable), but in all four categories, the percentage of people with unfavorable views was markedly smaller.
Brossard said African American voters in the survey showed even stronger pro-union views — 77% viewing health care workers’ unions favorably, and 58% having positive feelings toward public employee unions.
The survey asked respondents which statement they agreed with more: “Public employees who have risked their lives during the coronavirus pandemic deserve the right to negotiate their waves, working conditions and safety,” or that “increased union power often does little to help public employees — it just lines the pockets of union leadership.”
The disparaging phrase is “a perspective that we hear articulated from Republican lawmakers,” said Matt Canter of Global Strategies. But with a margin of 64% to 33%, the people surveyed chose the statement expressing support for public employees’ right to organize.
The survey also included a list of policy questions on whether people favored keeping taxes low compared with providing adequate funding for the services government provides. It also queried respondents on a number of specific proposals — among them a price-control board to rein in prescription drug prices and living wage guarantees for health care workers and other frontline workers. Majorities of more than 80% supported or strongly supported those and other policies, Brossard said.
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.