While American across the country will be celebrating Labor Day this Monday, a decreasing number feel that labor unions are necessary to protect the working person. In fact, support for labor unions is at an all-time low; about six-in-ten Americans (61%) say they are necessary for working people, down from 67% in 2007. From 1990 to 2003 more than seven-in-ten considered labor unions an ally to working Americans. Democrats have remained consistent backers of unions (80% say they are necessary to protect working people), but Republicans (44% necessary) and political independents (53% necessary) have become increasingly less supportive of labor unions. Racial differences also exist, as African Americans are more supportive of unions than whites. Labor unions have especially lost support from white men; just 47% see unions as necessary for working people, down from 67% six years ago. And while support for labor unions — as well as membership — has fallen, the percentage of Americans feeling they have too much power has increased. Fully 61% say unions have too much power, up from 52% in 1999. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.