The following analysis was completed by DPE based on an October 2016 attitudinal survey of 1,004 professional and technical employees. Here, the responses of 441 professionals that responded they would disapprove of a proposal to have a union represent them in their current job (“disapprovers”) are separately analyzed and, in part, compared to professionals who would approve of having a union.
A couple of noteworthy insights emerge when comparing professionals who approve of unions at work to professionals who disapprove of unions at work.
First, disapprovers are more likely to be satisfied with management as a whole and when asked to rate particular areas of their work, they report slightly higher rates of satisfaction with various aspects of their work. Disapprovers were more likely to believe their employers show them respect as professionals and are more likely to believe they have greater job security. However, disapprovers still identified areas for improvement at work. Disapprovers showed lower rates of satisfaction with career advancement opportunities, having a voice in decisions that affect them, and salaries and annual raises.
Second, the vast majority of disapprovers believe unions are not effective at improving wages, benefits, and working conditions for professionals. Thus, while disapprovers want wage gains and better health and retirement benefits, they do not believe unions can help them achieve those gains. The belief that unions are not effective was reinforced in another part of the survey where a majority of disapprovers reported that having a union would make no difference in gaining numerous workplace gains like increased voice in decisions, safety and health improvements, paid leave and vacations, and flexible work schedules. Demonstrating to disapprovers that unions are successful in improving wages, benefits, and working conditions may be key to winning over disapprovers.
Third, the majority of disapprovers do not hold strong anti-union sentiments and are open to a union message that demonstrates how collective bargaining can help them gain the wage and benefit improvements they want.
Additional data and analysis is available for DPE affiliated unions and their staff.
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