The following is the precise order and wording of the 20 questions asked of union members and their responses.

1. For how long have you been a member of a labor union?

Less than 5 years

17%

5 – 9 years

24

10 – 14 years

15

15 – 19 years

11

20 years or more

33



2. In what industry do you work?

Education

32%

Government

21

Manufacturing

11

Construction

11

Services

7

Transportation

6

Energy

3

Wholesale and/or retail trade

2

Telecommunications

2

Mining

1

Janitorial/Custodial Services

1

Textile/Laundry

--

*Other

3

*Other responses: Arts/Entertainment (19); Newspaper/Publishing (7); Attorney; Horse racing; Office manager (number in parentheses denotes frequency of similar response).


3. Was the union to which you belong organized before or after your current employer first hired you?

The union I belong to was organized before I was hired

93%

The union I belong to was organized after I was hired

7



4. Compared to when you first joined the union, how have your opinions changed towards your union and its leaders in general – are you now much more favorable, somewhat more favorable, somewhat less favorable, or much less favorable toward the union, or have your opinions remained about the same?

Much more favorable

20%

Somewhat more favorable

12

(More favorable: 32%)

Somewhat less favorable

10

Much less favorable

15

(Less favorable: 25%)

About the same

42



5 – 7. As a union member, which of the following responsibilities do you consider to be …

  • the most important for a labor union?

  • second-most important for labor unions?

  • third-most important for labor unions?

Table 1. Responsibilities of a Labor Union (ranked by percent saying most important)

% Most important

% Second-most important

% Third-most important

Bargaining for better wages, benefits and working conditions for its members

73

15

5

Improving job security

10

34

18

Protecting against internal union corruption

3

8

19

Helping companies be more competitive

3

5

8

Improving the public image of labor unions

2

9

16

Engaging in political activities

2

11

10

Protecting the secret-ballot election process for all workers in union membership decisions

1

4

7

Increasing union membership

1

9

11

*Other

2

2

2

Not sure

2

2

6

*Other (Most): Retirement benefits (2); Supporting its members (2); Collective bargaining; Company safety; Get more people to vote; Going back to representation we had before; Health benefits; Helping to obtain more employment; Protecting us from being sued; Serving as an advocate for the union member; Educating younger members (number in parentheses denotes frequency of similar response).

*Other (Second-most): Benefits (2); Job security (2); Representation (2); Retirement benefits (2); Being honest with the members; Disability insurance; Health care; Improving education of children; Making more power for the workers; Organized labor; Protecting peoples' rights; Timely contracts (number in parentheses denotes frequency of similar response).

*Other (Third-most): Fight for union member rights (2); Better health care; Explanation of rights; How the board works with their union members to improve their situation in life; Job security; Keeping educated and informed and strong membership; Making sure elections are clean; Organized labor; Outsourcing our companies to other countries; Policing their own members; Protecting members from discrimination; Providing mutual aid and comfort; Staying out of politics; Wages; Working conditions (number in parentheses denotes frequency of similar response).


8. When you think of how your union dues are spent by your union, which of the following best describes how those dollars are spent?

My dues are mostly spent on helping workers get better pay, benefits and working conditions

42%

My dues are mostly spent to pay big salaries and perks to people in the union bureaucracy

22

My dues are mostly spent to support political parties or candidates

12

My dues are mostly spent on something else

10

I don’t know how my union spends my dues

10

Not sure

4



9 – 10. Do you think your union spends too much, too little, or about the right amount of your dues money …

  • on direct benefits to you and your family, like efforts to secure better wages, benefits and working conditions?

  • on things like supporting political candidates and helping them get elected?

Table 2. Spending Dues on Benefits and Politics

Too much

Too little

Right amount

Not sure

On direct benefits to you and your family, like efforts to secure better wages, benefits and working conditions

4

43

47

6

On things like supporting political candidates and helping them get elected

34

11

42

14



11. Do you feel your union is doing the things it needs to do to make sure the union is strong and healthy for many more years, or do you feel your union is on the decline?

Doing what it needs to make sure it is strong and healthy

51%

On the decline

44

Neither/Not sure

6



12. Do you believe workers should have the right or should not have the right to vote on whether they wish to belong to a union?

Should have the right

84%

Should not have the right

11

Not sure

5



13. I’m going to describe two ways that workers might be asked to decide if they want to become part of a union and ask you which of the two ways is most fair. In the first way, a union organizer would ask workers to sign their name on a card if they wanted to be part of a union. The worker would sign his or her name on the card if he or she wanted a union, or the worker would tell the union organizer he or she would not sign the card if he or she did not want a union. In the second way, the government would hold an election in the workplace where every worker would get to vote by secret ballot whether he or she wanted a union. Which way is more fair?

Table 3. Choosing the Fairest Way to Decide on a Union

%

The first way, which has union organizers ask workers to sign their name on a card if they want a union, or refuse to sign the card if they don’t want a union

41

The second way, which has the government hold a secret-ballot election and keep the workers’ decisions private

53

Neither/Not sure

5



14. Currently, the government is responsible for holding secret-ballot elections for workers who are deciding whether to form a union, and for making sure workers can cast their votes in a fair and impartial manner. Do you agree or disagree that the current secret-ballot process is fair?

Agree

71%

Disagree

13

Not sure

16



15. Do you agree or disagree that stronger laws are needed to protect the existing secret-ballot election process and to make sure workers can make their decisions about union membership in private, without the union, their employer or anyone else knowing how they vote?

Agree

63%

Disagree

24

Not sure

14



16. Which of the following do you feel should oversee secret-ballot elections for union membership? (The options were rotated in the interview and appear in rank order below.)

Oversight should be given to other outside parties

35%

Oversight should be given to individual unions

27

Oversight should stay with the government

24

Oversight should be given to individual companies

6

Neither/Not sure

8



17. Should Congress keep the existing secret-ballot election process for union membership, or should Congress replace it with another process that is less private?

Keep the existing process

78%

Replace it with one less private

11

Not sure

11



18. Which of the following percentages of workers do you feel should have to vote for a union before that union represents all the workers?

At least one-third of the workers

9%

At least half the workers

27

At least two-thirds of the workers

51

All of the workers

11

Not sure

2



19. Some companies and union organizers want to make a special agreement to unionize the workers if at least half of the workers sign their names on cards saying they want a union, rather than letting all the workers vote in a secret-ballot election overseen by the government. Do you agree or disagree that it should be legal for a company and union organizers to make this special agreement to bypass the normal secret-ballot process to determine whether to unionize the workers?

Agree

26%

Disagree

66

Not sure

8



20. Do think it is fair or unfair for a worker to lose their job if he or she refuses to pay dues to, or support, a union?

Fair

32%

Unfair

63

Not sure

5


Note: These survey results were first made available to the public by the Mackinac Center on July 20, 2004 in a news release detailing union members’ attitudes toward the card-check and secret-ballot election processes.[4]