Collective bargaining hammered by push polling

 If there is one thing that the folks on Right Wing Avenue hate worse than government helping people, it is workers banding together to collectively bargain with their employer to improve their wages and benefits.

That anti-union sentiment is on full display in a question in the most recent poll by the Pope Civitas Institute about legislation to remove the state prohibition on collective bargaining by public employees. The headline of the Civitas press release about the results screamed "NC Voters Oppose Collective Bargaining: 2 to 1 Margin Against Labor Agenda."

Sounds like public sentiment is clear. Or is it?  A Carolina Poll earlier this month that asked about allowing public workers to bargain together for their pay and benefits found that 48 percent of people support ending the ban on collective bargaining, 28 percent oppose it, and 23 percent are undecided.  It is the fifth statewide poll since November 2005 conducted by UNC-Chapel Hill sociologist Andrew J. Perrin to find strong support for collective bargaining for public employees.

The Civitas poll is the outlier and a look at the questions explains why. Civitas asked

Should state employee and teachers' unions be allowed to engage in collective bargaining with elected officials they might endorse in elections?

The Carolina Poll asked the question much more straighforwardly. 

As you may know, the State of North Carolina, towns, cities, and counties and other public workplaces in North Carolina are not allowed to negotiate or sign contracts with labor unions representing their employees. Would you support  or oppose a law that would allow them to do so?

Neither poll mentioned a recent study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research that found that union membership increased the pay of low wage workers in North Carolina by as much as 14 percent in the last four years. You can bet if the study found the opposite, it would have been part of the Civitas push poll.


  1. Jerimee

    May 27, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    I wonder if they do a poll to determine what poll questions to use.

    The way they phrase the question makes it sound about manipulating elections. I suppose a question mentioning freedom of assembly and universal human rights wouldn’t serve Civitas’s partisan agenda very well.

  2. andrewperrin

    May 28, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    FYI this has all become quite a brouhaha over at Red Clay Citizen….http://redclaycitizen.typepad.com/redclay/2008/05/what-is-a-push.html

  3. Belinda

    May 29, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    According to the Office of State Personnel (http://www.osp.state.nc.us/CompWebSite/Legislative%20Increase%20History.doc), the Legislative Increases awarded to State employees (without collective bargaining) over the past four years have totaled 14% (2007 = 4%, 2006 = 5.5%, 2005 = 2.0%, and 2004 = 2.5%). According to the text of the above article (Collective Bargaining Hammered by Push Polling posted at 12:58 PM by Chris Fitzsimon), “union membership increased the pay of low wage workers in North Carolina by as much as 14 percent in the last four years.” 14% without collective bargaining. 14% with collective bargaining. Factor in union dues to pay the fat salaries of the suntanned union bosses wearing Armani suits and it seems to be a net loss to my pocketbook to join a union.

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