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The State of the Unions is Strong

Today, National AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler and Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond delivered an inaugural State of the Unions address where they released new polling which underscores the American people’s support of unions—especially that of young workers—and their view of unions as critical to growing the middle class and providing opportunities for working people to thrive. Additionally, both officers stressed that with this unprecedented level of support, working people in unions are prepared to organize like never before, hold big corporations accountable and restore America’s promise for all.


“The idea of a union may sound complicated, but in reality, unions are just a group of people coming together. They are about each of us becoming the most powerful version of ourselves that we possibly can,” said Shuler. “And there is nothing better than finding that power alongside the people we work with and being a part of something bigger than ourselves. That’s all a union is. It’s that simple. People in this country have been searching for their power for a long time now, young people especially.”


You can read President Shuler’s full remarks here.


“Every day, more and more working people are finding out that the labor movement is the solution to low wages and unsafe workplaces, to inequality and discrimination. That the labor movement is the only institution in America that has the infrastructure and reach to address and vanquish oppression in all its forms,” said Redmond. “That working people—standing together and standing up for one another—are an incredible force for progress at work, in our unions, in our economy and in our democracy.”


You can read Secretary-Treasurer Redmond’s remarks here.


Below are some of the poll’s key findings. Full results of the GBAO poll conducted on behalf of the National AFL-CIO are available here.


  • 7 in 10 Americans (71%) support unions cutting across party lines. A majority of Republicans and more than two-thirds of Independents join 9 in 10 (91%) Democrats in supporting unions. It’s crystal clear from these numbers that Americans of all political stripes want and need unions.

  • An unprecedented number of young Americans support unions. Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) people under 30 view unions favorably. We’ve never seen a number that high, which is testament to the deep desire of young people to act collectively to demand respect and dignity on the job.

  • In the midst of a number of ongoing worker strikes around the country, Americans are strongly supportive of working people walking off the job for better wages and working conditions. Three-fourths of Americans support workers going on strike and support is strong regardless of party affiliation.

  • Americans are concerned about tech companies putting profits over the well-being of people in the implementation of artificial intelligence. 70% of people express concern that AI will displace workers, with women workers especially concerned given AI’s potential to exacerbate inequity on the job.


“I started this apprenticeship knowing that it would equip me with the training and expertise to put me on a solid path to a good career,” said Luis Arriaza 17, a union apprentice at the Electricity and Wiring Program at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute in Massachusetts. “Through my apprenticeship, I know that I will be able to earn a living wage, gain critical benefits and protections and continue developing my skills. I am passionate about the work that I do and I am grateful that I will experience firsthand the solidarity and support of a good union job.”


View a recording of today’s event at aflcio.tv

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