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As US Workers Fight for Labor Rights, Public Support for Unions Soars to Five-Decade High

Amid a continued high-profile push for workers’ rights at U.S. companies including Starbucks and Amazon, polling released Tuesday showed that Americans’ approval of labor unions is the highest it’s been in nearly six decades and has risen substantially since a low point in the 2010s.

Gallup’s annual Work and Education Survey, conducted between August 1-23, found that 71% of Americans now approve of labor unions.

Support for workers’ rights has steadily risen in recent years as the public has watched a fired Amazon employee lead his former colleagues to a historic union victory in April and Starbucks baristas at more than 200 stores vote to unionize despite facing aggressive—and illegal—retaliation by the coffee chain.

In 2021, 68% of people said they supported labor unions, and 64% reported the same before the coronavirus pandemic marked a shift in many American workplaces.

Companies like Trader Joe’s faced pressure to provide hazard pay to frontline workers when the pandemic began, and workers at Amazon staged walkouts in April 2020 to demand better coronavirus protections.