Management & Labor

Public Opinion Turns Against Unions in California

December 13, 2013

Public support for labor unions has plunged in California, with more voters for the first time saying they do more harm than good, according to a new Field Poll.
 
A plurality of registered voters – 45 percent – now feel that way, compared to 40 percent who say they do more good.
 
The poll registers a dramatic, 10 percentage point change in public opinion from two years ago, when voters rated labor unions far more positively. The measure follows heated controversies around public pensions, municipal bankruptcies and political campaigns involving organized labor – one of the most influential forces in California’s Democratic politics.
 
“It seems like they keep winning the battles,” Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said. “The question becomes, ‘Are they moving the public in the direction where they may lose the war?’”
 
DiCamillo attributed declining support for labor unions to growing concerns about public pension costs and, in the densely populated San Francisco Bay Area, frustration around recent transit strikes.

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