Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Public Relations


Public Relations & Advertising


Ric Edelman College of Communication & Creative Arts


Sparks, Suzanne


Labor unions--Public relations


Public Relations and Advertising


The goal of this study is to show that unions need to communicate the purpose they serve in society to revive their tarnished image. The results show through quantitative and qualitative analysis that although some studies show the public approval rating of unions has increased, a negative image still exists.

To determine the type of message the mass media is sending to the public about unions, a content analysis was performed on articles written by the Washington Post about four national strikes. Twelve individual in-depth interviews were conducted using six union and six nonunion participants to gather detailed information concerning the participants' opinions, attitudes, and experiences about labor unions. A simple random sample survey was conducted. New Castle County in the state of Delaware was chosen as the sample population of 196. To determine whether to accept or reject each hypothesis for statistical significance, a binomial probability distribution was run on each survey question.

Seventy-two percent of survey respondents believe that society has a negative perception of labor unions. By communicating the contributions unions make to society, the American public will understand why unions are a necessary component in our economic and social system. A well-planned marketing campaign will guide labor unions in the 21st century.