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 689 non-Hispanic White professionals (White professionals hereinafter) are separately analyzed and, in part, compared to professionals of color.
Among the respondents: 60% were employed in the private, for-profit sector; 19% were employed in the public sector; 21% were employed in engineering, business, finance, computer, and math occupations; 17% were employed in healthcare occupations; 36% identified as Democrats; 51% identified as Republicans; 50% were women; and 37% were aged 50 and older.
The White professionals in DPE’s survey were older than professionals of color and included more Republicans. As with older professionals and Republicans, White professionals were skeptical of the benefits of joining together. Skepticism may be centered on the question of whether a union could really make workplace improvements.
First, in core areas of collective bargaining—pay, benefits, job security, and paid leave and vacations—very few White professionals believed that having a union in their workplace would make these things worse. However, large percentages believed that having a union could make no difference in their pay, benefits, job security, and paid leave and vacations. Making strong case demonstrating how joining together can improve these central features of work may help in building support for a union in the workplace.
Second, White professionals were more likely to believe negative statements about unions were true as opposed to positive statements. When communicating with White professionals, unions may have to make greater efforts to dispel myths about unions, including how unions make a difference for employees.
Third, White professionals viewed traditional pocketbook improvements as the most convincing reasons to have a union in the workplace. A majority of White professionals would favor a union that would make salary and benefit improvements. Work-life balance and equal pay for equal work were viewed as secondary benefits to having a union in the workplace.
Additional data and analysis is available for DPE affiliated unions and their staff.
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