A Gallup poll released today shows that the American public is overwhelmingly opposed to the idea of unionizing the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Several federal employee groups - representing about half the U.S. government's civilian work force - are considering the idea of signing up military members. The largest of those unions - the 300,000 member American Federation of Government Employees - will poll its locals later this summer to see whether their members favor going into the military market.
The Gallup poll, taken between June 3 and June 6, asked the question: "Would you favor or oppose unionization of the American armed forces?" The response from the 1,536 adults in more than 300 "scientifically selected localities," indicated that 74 per cent of those polled are against the introduction of unions into the military.
Thirteen per cent of those interviewed by the Gallup organization said they favor the idea of military unions. Another 13 per cent said they are undecided.
The Gallup survey is certain to be used by opponents of military unions to whip congressional support for legislation that would ban unions in the military. There are at least two bills before the Senate Armed Services Committee that would ban unions in the armed forces.
Federal union leaders who are interested in adding military members scoff at the idea that soldiers would consult with shop stewarts before going into combat, or call wildcat strikes over wok assignments. But there is strong opposition in Congress, within the Pentagon and - according to the Gallup poll - among the American public to a union-label army.
Many federal civilian union members also are against military expansion. They fear that organizing and servicing unique military grievances would drain their union treasury's and/or dilute service to civilian members.
The lure of 2-million plus unorganized members of the labor force who get steady checks is great. Union officials also argue that in addition to performing a service to military personnel, the addition of several hundred thousand military people to their ranks would increase their clout on Capitol Hill.