Discover more from What the Polls Don’t Tell Us
People Are Taking To The Internet To Support Organized Labor.
With unemployment at record lows and inflation reaching record highs, unionization has never looked so good.
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Labor unions have seen a resurgence in popularity as many people have faced working through a global pandemic. According to a poll conducted by Gallup last year, 68% of Americans approve of labor unions, the highest approval rating since 1965. Regardless of this overwhelming increase in union support, the rate of union membership has declined by 0.5 percentage points to 10.3% in 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Then why does it feel as though everyone is unionizing?
BIG TAKEAWAY: Young people are taking to social media to spread the word about their unionizing efforts.
Young people and their families are overwhelmed with concerns about economic stability with increased inflation and the rising cost of living.
Social media fosters an environment where people can connect on their shared experiences and provide support, making it a good place to spread information on union efforts.
Unionizing efforts and union-busting tactics deployed at companies people know and love increases online engagement.
SLEEPER TAKEAWAY: People are eager to air their grievances online, leaving space for support and solutions. This fosters a safe space for people to communicate about their union efforts and for others to help spread the word for them.
Over the past year, online users have expressed growing concern about the cost of living crisis. This conversation alone has seen a 104% increase since August of last year.
It should come as no surprise that the online discourse about the cost of living is dominated by discussions around growing inflation, job security and wages, and general concerns around the affordability of products and monthly expenses.
The online discourse reflects reality - those hardest hit by the rising prices are young working families. A look at the most common source biographies of those talking about the cost of living shows that the conversation is largely driven by parents and nearly 30% of these users are between the ages of 25-34.
These growing economic concerns combined with the post-covid change in employment perceptions have resulted in increased support for unions. The online discourse shows that positive sentiment for unions has increased by +11% over the past year.
Zooming in on the labor unions discourse, there have been several peaks in the volume of mentions over the last three months. It drives engagement when corporations that everyone knows and loves, such as Starbucks and Chipotle, are exposed for anti-union actions.
Witnessing these activities, young people are using the internet in new and unique ways to spread support for unionization and call attention to their union efforts.
Increased union awareness is leading to a greater push for unionization as a solution to the growing concerns over the cost of living among young workers and families.
Regardless of the lack of increased union membership, people are witnessing the power of unionization. Recent data from the National Labor Relations Board highlighted a 57% increase in union representation petitions in the first half of 2022 when compared with the same period in 2021.
In light of this moment, we have worked with AFSCME to help spread the message of support for unions. Through a collaboration with young working families, we have been able to successfully tap into “unions as the solution” for working Americans.
Bottom line: Now is the time to continue spreading the word about unions. People online are frustrated with their current working conditions and uncertain about their ability to combat rising costs. Unions are positioned as the perfect solution and the message is being received online. Union-busting tactics that are attempting to keep union membership low are fueling this movement online for union support.
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