Poll shows 74% of voters OK strikes for higher pay, benefits
John Deere workers on strike that garnered wide public support. | Charlie Neibergall/AP

WASHINGTON —Some 74% of 1,294 likely voters, including 60% of Republicans, either approve or strongly approve of workers forced to strike for higher pay and better benefits, a poll the AFL-CIO released late last month said.

The Data for Progress survey cited the recent forced strikes by United Auto Workers members against John Deere and by Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers against Nabisco and against Kellogg. All three profitable firms demanded concessions and either offered skimpy raises or demanded pay cuts. UAW members have rejected two John Deere contract proposals so far.

“Strikes are leading indicators that our country is heading in the right direction—a healthy response to imbalances of power created by employers who believe they should be able to squeeze more and more out of the workers who make their companies profitable,” AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said in a statement.

The poll in mid-October—or, as the fed called it, “Striketober”–had a sampling error of plus or minus 3%. It showed 35% of respondents strongly approved of strikes, including 49% of Democrats, 32% of independents or third-party members and 22% of Republicans. Another 39% somewhat approve, including 38% each of both parties and 40% of independents.

One-fifth of the voters, including 10% of Democrats and 19% of independents but 30% of Republicans, strongly or somewhat disapproved of strikers. Support was higher among women (77%) than men and whites (71%) and highest among Blacks (85%).


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.