UAW Strike Support Endures Among U.S. Public

The marginal increase in support for the union strike comes as public opposition to its key demands also grows larger
Shares of U.S. adults who said they support or oppose a strike by the United Auto Workers against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, before it happened and after it began
Stacked bar chart of the shares of U.S. adults who said they support or oppose a strike by the United Auto Workers against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, before it happened and after it began.
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Surveys conducted Sept. 9-11 and Sept. 16-17, 2023, among representative samples of roughly 2,200 U.S. adults each, with unweighted margins of error of +/-2 percentage points. Figures may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

September 18, 2023 at 3:15 pm UTC

Key Takeaways

  • 54% of U.S. adults support the UAW’s strike against the so-called “Big Three” automakers, up from 51% in advance of the strike.

  • Meanwhile, support for the UAW’s demands for a 40% pay raise and shortened workweek fell by a similar margin.

  • 62% of U.S. registered voters support labor unions, the highest on record at Morning Consult.

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With the United Auto Workers union in the fourth day of its unprecedented, simultaneous strike against the country’s three largest automakers, a new Morning Consult survey finds that public support for the walkout is enduring.

A slim 54% majority of U.S. adults surveyed over the weekend said they support the UAW’s strike against General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, up from 51% who said in a survey earlier this month that they’d support the strike if it happened. Both figures are within the surveys’ margins of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

The sustained support for the strike comes as survey respondents increasingly report hearing “a lot” or “some” about it (from 42% last week to 54% now) and as the share concerned about the standoff increases from 39% to 49%.

Specific demographics at scale: Surveying thousands of consumers around the world every day powers our ability to examine and analyze perceptions and habits of more specific demographics at scale, like those featured here.

Why it matters: Leaders need a better understanding of their audiences when making key decisions. Our comprehensive approach to understanding audience profiles complements the “who” of demographics and the “what” of behavioral data with critical insights and analysis on the “why.”

It also comes, somewhat counterintuitively, as support softens for the union’s most maximal demands: Backing among U.S. adults for a 40% pay raise over four years fell from 53% to 49% between the surveys, while support for a shortened 32-hour workweek fell from 46% to 41%. (The first survey described the pay proposal as a 46% pay raise over four years, which is the compounded figure, while the second survey described it as a 40% pay raise.)

The bottom line

Backing for the UAW strike is in line with a broader trend in public opinion that finds support for labor unions is climbing. Our latest survey found 62% of registered U.S. voters support labor unions in general, the highest on record in Morning Consult surveys since we first began asking the question in 2020.

So even if the union’s main negotiating demands are not particularly popular, the public is generally aligned with its push to improve its conditions for its workers. That complicates plans by pro-industry voices to push back.

A headshot photograph of Cameron Easley
Cameron Easley
Lead U.S. Politics Analyst

Cameron Easley is Morning Consult’s lead analyst for U.S. politics. Prior to moving into his current role, he led Morning Consult's editorial coverage of U.S. politics and elections from 2016 through 2022. Cameron joined Morning Consult from Roll Call, where he was managing editor. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Follow him on Twitter @cameron_easley. Interested in connecting with Cameron to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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