DPE surveyed the attitudes 1,004 professional and technical employees have toward unions in October 2016. Here, the responses of 331 professionals between the ages of 21 and 34 are separately analyzed.
Overall, young professionals are more likely to have positive views of unions and are generally more positive about their work and professions. While young professionals possess the least amount of knowledge about unions representing professionals they are most likely to believe unions are effective in improving wages, benefits, and working conditions, albeit by a slim majority. Increasing knowledge about unions representing professionals and demonstrating union effectiveness in representation of professionals could help to build and preserve support among young professionals.
Three items related to what young professional and technical employees want from a union and their concerns about having a union stood out in the survey results. Understanding these three areas can help unions communicate with and bargain on behalf of young professional and technical employees.
First, having only recently entered the professional workforce, young professionals want to be able to advance in their professions. Young professionals want to excel at their jobs and be recognized and rewarded for their accomplishments. Young professionals also see opportunity to advance their careers through professional development and training. Therefore, young professionals are likely to be receptive to a union message that communicates how union representation will help them advance their careers, including opportunities for promotion and bargaining for employer reimbursement for professional development and training.
Second, young professionals are particularly interested in preserving workplace harmony, both among colleagues and with management. Young professionals are less likely to engage in activity they perceive as disruptive to the workplace. While young professionals express frustrations with management and are willing to stand up to management to get what they want, it is unlikely that they want an ongoing adversarial relationship with management. Unions should emphasize the effectiveness of labor-management cooperation and provide examples of how cooperative relationships have been effective.
Third, young professionals show a greater desire for work-life balance than older professionals. Unions may want to emphasize the ability of professionals to gain greater work-life balance with union membership.
Additional data and analysis is available for DPE affiliated unions and their staff.
For more information, please contact Assistant to the President/Research Director Jennifer Dorning at 202-638-0320 ext. 114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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