“Sufficient”: US tight employment market is causing strikes and demanding more wages

File Photo: Members of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and other worker leaders in the United States picket on a union strike at the Warrior Met Coal Mine outside BlackRock’s headquarters in New York City, USA. July 28, 2021.Reuters / Brendan McDermid

October 18, 2021

Ben Clayman

(Reuters) – Thousands of workers continue to strike across the United States, with higher wages and more, despite Hollywood make-up artists and cameramen signing contracts to avoid strikes over the weekend. Demanding good conditions.

Kevin Bradshaw is an employee of Kellogg Co’s grain mill in Memphis, Tennessee, where most of North America’s frost flakes are manufactured. He has been promoted by the company from about 1,400 workers on strike since October 5 at factories in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, union officials say healthcare coverage, severance pay. I don’t think it’s great about reducing money and vacation time.

Bradshaw, bakery, confectionery, tobacco worker and grain mirrors international union local 252G vice president at the Memphis plant, said: “We can’t afford to continue to provide things to companies that are making record profits economically.”

Approximately 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers on Saturday’s movies and TV shows avoided joining Kellogg’s strikers, but close to strikes say they’re fed up with slight or salary increases and other givebacks. It was a demonstration of the latest power by union members. Kellogg officials weren’t asked to comment, but said the company’s compensation was one of the best in the industry.

Labor activists complain that many of the members were considered essential during the COVID-19 crisis, but that was not reflected in their treatment by employers. The White House administration is sympathetic, with unions ready to test corporate determination in the job market, where a record number of Americans resigned in August.

So far, at least 176 strikes have been launched this year, 17 in October, according to Cornell University’s Labor Behavior Tracker.

“Workers are on strike for better deals and better lives,” said Lizschler, chairman of AFL-CIO, the largest US labor federation, at the SABEW Journalism Conference last week.

“The pandemic actually exposes inequality in our system, and workers refuse to return to crappy jobs that endanger their health,” she added, adding that the term #Striketober is prevalent on Twitter. I pointed out that.

Despite some setbacks, including the failure of an organized drive earlier this year at an facility on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama, union leaders feel they have all the stars to make a profit. increase.

Harley-Davidson, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, said: “Workers feel they are in the driver’s seat and there is a lot of ground lost to make up for it.”

“What we are seeing is the fight to return to or at least stay in the middle class,” he said.

Support at the White House

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership has been steadily declining in recent decades, dropping from 20% in 1983 to less than 11% of Americans employed in 2020.

However, according to a Gallup survey in August, 68% of Americans approved the union, the highest percentage since 1965, rising to almost 78% among people aged 18-29. I am.

Helping to stimulate the hopes of union leaders is a broad view among organizers that President Joe Biden is the most pro-union president of our time. In April, the Democratic Party created a task force to promote trade unionization.

Two months ago, he defended the workers’ right to form a union for the unsuccessful promotion of organizing Amazon workers in Alabama. Team Star has vowed to continue its efforts to organize the company’s warehousing operations.

In Beaumont, Texas, ExxonMobil shut out 650 workers from a refinery and adjacent factory in May after a local United Steelworkers refused to submit a contract proposal. Union leaders plan to vote for the contract on Tuesday, but urged members to decline it.

Exxon said lockouts were needed to avoid strike turmoil and that seniority changes were needed to be imposed to ensure profitability. Meanwhile, some union members have moved to revoke the union’s accreditation.

Dissatisfaction is rising in some sectors. 90% of Deere & Co’s hourly workers, represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, went on strike last week, rejecting the company’s contract proposal.

10,000 workers at the largest farm equipment maker are looking for higher wages and severance pay, or UAW Region 8 director Mitchell Smith has described it as “a better share of the pie.”

Deer declined to comment, but said the company wanted to maintain its employee status as the highest wage in the industry after UAW members resolved to strike.

Behind-the-scenes workers in Hollywood, represented by the International Alliance of Theatrical Film and Theater Labor Unions (IATSE), have called for shorter working hours, longer breaks, meal breaks, and higher wages for people at lower wage levels. rice field.

Hollywood workers avoided strikes, but the picket line could be even more crowded.

More than 28,000 healthcare professionals at 13 Southern California Kaiser Permanente Hospitals and hundreds of medical centers voted overwhelmingly to approve strikes earlier this month. They want more wages and higher levels of staffing to reduce the burnout exacerbated by the pandemic.

That demand is reflected in about 2,000 healthcare workers who have been on strike since October 1st in Buffalo, NY.

“We’ve been short on Mercy for five years,” said Kathy Kelly, a 38-year nurse at the Catholic Health System’s Mercy Hospital, during a picketing break. “Sufficient. I can only give a lot.”

(Report by Ben Clayman in Detroit, Irwin Seba in Houston, Julia Love and Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco, Additional Report by Kannaki Deca in Bangalore, edited by Daniel Wallis)

“Sufficient”: US tight employment market is causing strikes and demanding more wages

Source link “Sufficient”: US tight employment market is causing strikes and demanding more wages

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