Over 100,000 workers in the US will go on strike this October or threatened to do so as part of a wave intensifying industrial action, known as “Striketober”.
John Deere, a manufacturer of farm equipment, was dragged by 10,000 employees to strike over conditions and pay.
On Monday, some 60,000 workers in the TV and film industry will strike. 24,000 nurses may also go on strike.
This is the result of a surge in US union activity following decades of decline. Staff wanted better rights during the pandemic.
Employers, who often suppressed such attempts in the past have been forced to lower wages due to a shortage of labour.
Many others went on strike already in October. These included 700 Massachusetts nurses, 2000 New York hospital workers, and 1,400 Kellogg factory workers from Michigan, Nebraska and Pennsylvania.
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California lecturers are on the verge of walking out.
Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (left-leaning Democratic Congresswoman) voiced support Thursday for the act using #Striketober, which went viral.
#Striketober coming in hot 🔥
After years of being underserved and taken for granted – & doubly so during the pandemic – workers are starting to authorize strikes across the country: from @IATSEProduction workers @UAW John Deere & @BCTGM Kellogg workers,& many more.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 14, 2021
Deere & Company workers based mainly in Iowa and Illinois walked out from midnight on Thursday after rejecting a new contract they say insufficiently increases wages and weakens pension rights.
The strike is the largest in US since GM employees walked off two years back.
Chuck Browning is director of agriculture for United Automobile Workers Union. He said, “Our John Deere members strike to have the opportunity to make a decent living and retire with dignity.
Deere stated that it is determined to come to an agreement which would benefit all employees.
After pay negotiations with Kaiser Permanente, their private hospital group, had stalled, more than 24,000 California nurses and Oregon healthcare workers voted Monday for a strike.
Nurses want an annual 4% pay increase, more attention to staff shortages and extended breaks to combat pandemic-related stress. Kasier states that it is working to solve the problem quickly.
On Monday, US television and film studios will be closed as the largest strike of film crew and staff workers since World War Two.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees is their union. They accuse Hollywood giants Warner Bors and Netflix of not giving enough time to workers in the new contract.
According to the study, workers often work 12 hours a day – with no meal breaks – while those who are least well-paid make less than the living wage.
#StriketoberIt is often a result of greedy bosses trying desperately to recover the non-recoverable.
To make up the time lost during the pandemic, workers in every industry are being forced to the edge.
Every strike is management’s fault.
— Jonas Loeb (@jonasloeb) September 7, 2021
Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major media companies, says that it will continue to “negotiate in good faith”.
Richard Bensinger of Workers United said that it was similar to the 1930s in America, when workers were commonplace.
He stated that “again, back then the great divide between wealthy and working class became intolerable. The decades-long decline in living standards for workers cannot be sustained.”
A little over a third (or so) of US workers had been in a union by the end 1960s. But, that number has dropped in recent decades because anti-union laws have led to corporate crackdowns and disorganisation.
The union membership rate climbed to 10.8% last year for the first ever time since 2005. Gallup estimates that 65 percent of Americans support unions. It is also the highest estimate in nearly two decades.
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This coincides with an increase in industrial action. Amazon Warehouse staff will be unionizing in 2021. New York museums curators and coal miners have staged months-long strikes.
The tacit support from Joe Biden, who promised to be the most pro-union president you have ever seen, and from a left-leaning Democratic party has helped them.
Gary Burtless, Brookings Institutions’ spokesperson for unionism, told BBC that he didn’t anticipate a major shift to unionism.
According to him, “The percentage of American employees who are members of a union is very low.” He said that these rates were very low compared to other countries’ unionisation rates or the US rate during the 1970s.
Since 2002, the number of days lost due to strikes has been at or near historic lows. Even a double or triple increase in strikes-related days would not have a significant impact on American work life.