Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 2:37 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Unions versus state and local governments

By Jon Cohen

Americans tilt toward public employee unions over state and local governments, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

Asked their "first reaction" in disagreements between labor unions representing government workers and the governments themselves, 44 percent of those polled say their sympathies lie with the unions; 38 percent side with the governments.

Today, President Obama called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) proposal to curtail state employee collective-bargaining protections an apparent "assault on unions."

In the poll, Democrats take the unions' side in labor disputes by a large, 26-point margin (56 to 30 percent), while Republicans side with governments by 15 (50 to 35 percent). Independents are split toward the union side, 43 to 37 percent.

Republicans have a clearer take when it comes to unions in the private sector: Republicans side with businesses over private-sector labor unions by better than 2 to 1 (62 to 25 percent).

The Pew survey points to sliding favorability numbers for both unions and businesses, with positive views of unions slipping across the political spectrum.

Most Americans - 53 percent - see labor unions as good for workers, but more see them as bad than good for the competitiveness of U.S. companies.

In a January Washington Post poll, barely over a third of Americans said the country is well-positioned to compete in the global economy.

By Jon Cohen  | February 17, 2011; 2:37 PM ET
Tags:  Obama, Pew Research Center, government, poll, unions  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Ratings on Obama's handling of the deficit
Next: Will your children be better off? Results from the race & recession poll


Where does the "worker" fit into this picture?

Posted by: CountytaxpayingCHNII | February 17, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Wait just one cotton-pickin' minute...Who is saying that this is a battle between union workers and GOVERNMENTS? It is an individual, or individuals who have taken it upon themselves to destroy unions in Wisconsin, a key state in this coming election cycle of 2012, for obvious reasons. Rove said it, MSNBC opined the same, weeks ago..
Wisconsin is a battleground between workers and the corporate viewpoint: Destroy the economic base of the middle and especially the lower classes, who vote Democratic Party in Wisconsin.
Make them angry and you'll see a movement that'll make previous "Ghost ship" Tea Party events funded by rich Texans look like a second use, watered-logged Liptons bag..

Posted by: hrayovac2 | February 17, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

We AREN'T competitive in a global market but the Bananarepublican ideals for cutting wages and education while giving more money to the upper 1% are not going to get us there. Competitive to them means sweatshops and taking away the rights of the people to free speech. While they talk about bringing transparency to public wages, they are busy hiding where their money comes from(China and India were players in the last election).

Posted by: Emaleth | February 18, 2011 8:17 AM | Report abuse

OK, honey, here's your example. I'm a UNION WORKER, and I WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT!! LOCAL GOVERNMENT!!
Do I WANT do be a UNION member? I had no CHOICE! They say..oh, if you want to work for us, you MUST have your dues subtracted from your paycheck, and you are automatically IN the bargaining UNIT. This is a GIVEN.

SOOO. in order to serve the most vulnerable populations in MY LIFELONG COMMUNITY, as a community health RN I MUST contribute $510 dollars of my pay to the local union, thank you very much!OK!

OH BOY, I make tons of money, a whole 37K a year! That's after 11 yrs of employment, and 4 Nurse Managers, one after the other silently, yes, silently..creating hostile let's not get into that..the management are NOT UNION employed..but shall I tell you how much a non-union manager makes? How about over 95K a year?
The Union & Management are great buddies! "Local & STATE Government is actually "management" OK?? Get that straight!! They are NOT the workers!!
Once you can all sort that out, you'll understand who you are voting "one vs another". The workers are not included in this picture, yet WE are the ones who are always victimized as the ones who are taking ALL the money and benefits from the MIX! NOT!!!
One day, take a look at the Dept of Labor, the page called the L-M2's of the UNIONS. It's breathtaking.

Posted by: CountytaxpayingCHNII | February 18, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

As a union member i don't mind paying dues. As a member i have all the rights that all my due paying brothers have. I get laid off and i never have to take a pay cut when i go to another company, they can't fire me for no reason. Maryland is a no cause firing state, meaning they can fire you for no reason, unless your union or have a contract. People that complain,whine and cry about dues have no problem reaping the benefits. In a right to work state people can opt out of dues and still keep all the benefits! If the govt unions fall the private sector will be next. If corporate America could abolish minimum wage and pay you $2.00/hr they would do it in a minute. Unions are a counter balance to corporations and public officials that can control your future on a whim.

Posted by: icehouseernie | February 18, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Public unions versus Governemnt? What a silly poll. They are in bed together (at least around the DC metro area) and play a game that looks adversarial but line each other's pockets. Look at how Montgomerty County Exec Legget recommends cust he knows an Arbitrator will not accept and then through his spokesman Lacefield "oh well, there is nothing we can do"
This is only a circus that is letting the animals run wild.
If we got some service for all the fat compensation packages, it may make sense. But you can't get a street plowed, cops retire after a few short years of working and the schools ignore anyone that doesn't pat them on the back and give them more days off work.
Public unions are for cowards. Private unions are for those who have no other representation. Let's start recognizing the different please.

Posted by: doug39 | February 22, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The premise of this poll is wrong-headed. It is the unions versus the taxpayers. Switch "government" for taxpayers, and the results may change.

Posted by: ecartr5 | February 22, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company