Most Americans support Congress' intervention in the possible rail strike

Linley SandersData Journalist
November 30, 2022, 10:36 PM GMT+0

A contract dispute between railroad worker unions and management companies has reached a stalemate, with railroad workers preparing to begin a national strike in early December. President Joe Biden has said that such transit and transportation disruption would damage the economy and asked Congress to use its powers to force both parties to adopt a tentative agreement and avoid the labor strike.

Most Americans (57%) would support Congress preventing a railroad strike by forcing railroad worker unions and management companies to adopt a tentative agreement that included some of the workers' requests, according to a new YouGov poll. Democrats (73%) are much more supportive of this move —which was described as originating with Biden, a Democrat — than Republicans (54%) and Independents (45%) are. Forcing the unions to accept the tentative agreement is also supported by majorities of current union members (72%) and former union members (65%).

Representatives of the rail-worker unions have criticized Biden for prioritizing the economy over their members' needs, and have criticized Congress for potentially depriving the workers of what they say is their right to strike. Americans are split on this issue — though, even when told that the U.S. government has said a national rail strike would harm the U.S. economy, more adults say that the country should prioritize workers' rights over economic growth (39%) than say the reverse (33%).

Republicans are more likely to prioritize economic growth over workers' rights than the reverse (45% vs. 32%), while fewer Democrats are (32% vs. 46%).

Americans' views on this topic are seemingly contradictory: Many who say they support workers' rights also support Congress intervening to stop the possible strike. One-quarter of Americans say they prioritize workers' rights and also support Congress intervening, while a similar share (24%) say they prioritize economic growth and support the legislative intervention.

Similarly, 28% of Americans say their sympathies lie with the unions over the management companies, while also supporting the congressional intervention.

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