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Have We Learned Anything Since Striketober?

This month marks the one-year anniversary of “Striketober.” Last fall, many expressed hopes that the labor movement was experiencing a Phoenix-like resurgence in the form of a strike wave. New data and measures of strike activity reported “dramatic” increases that garnered significant media attention. Gathered by the likes of Payday Report and Cornell’s School of Industrial Relations, these new data and measures were partly meant to question official, government measures of strike activity collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which stopped collecting more comprehensive data in the early 1980s. However, subsequent commentary threw buckets of cold water on this pyre of hope.

New ‘Striketober’ Looms As US Walkouts Increase

Thousands of workers around the US are going on strike or threatening to do so heading into October, amid a recent surge of labor action activity in America and just one month before crucial midterm elections. Support for labor unions in the US has grown over the past year, as a surge in organizing has resulted in workers winning union elections at major corporations including Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, Chipotle, Trader Joe’s, Google, REI and Verizon. Union election petitions increased 58% in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2022, compared with 2021. Public support for labor unions is at its highest point since 1965, according to the most recent Gallup poll, with a 71% approval of labor unions in the US. According to the labor action tracker at Cornell University, strikes in 2022 so far have significantly outpaced strike activity in 2021, with 180 strikes involving 78,000 workers in the first six months of 2022, compared with 102 strikes involving 26,500 workers in the first six months of 2021.

Let’s Restore The Legal Right To Strike

Unions have the winds at their back because of the unique circumstances of the pandemic making so many workers less willing to work unpleasant jobs for lousy pay, but labor markets have a way of tightening that make striking a riskier proposition for workers. We must take this opportunity to win back our rights for when we’ll really need them again. In any workplace where workers are on strike — or just talking about it — if the boss starts to promise scabs permanent replacement jobs at the end of the labor dispute please file a damn Unfair Labor Practice charge! Where does Jennifer Abruzzo’s NLRB have the discretion to punish an employer for hiring permanent scabs? Prompted by a union-filed Unfair Labor Practice charge, it can investigate an employer’s economic needs “to protect and continue his business” by hiring permanent replacements.

The Strike Wave Is A Sign We Need More New Union Organizing

Ten thousand John Deere workers went on strike today. Sixty thousand IATSE members may be on strike by Monday. They will join the thousands of nurses, miners, hospital workers, factory workers, and others already on strike across America. Here we are, in our long-awaited strike wave. What does this thrilling development tell the labor movement about what its future direction should be? Nothing. Let me phrase that in a more positive way: The current wave of aggressive strike actions across the country is one of the most politically inspiring things that has happened in years. But the fundamental thing that the labor movement needs to do remains exactly the same as it was last year, and the year before that: We need to organize many, many more workers into unions.

Reno Transit Workers Holding Firm In Second Strike Since August

Reno, Nevada, - Workers for the Washoe County Regional Transit Commission (RTC) went out on strike against the RTC’s contractor, Keolis North America — a division of a notoriously anti-union company based in France that manages bus and rail operations in several U.S. cities, including Boston, Fort Lauderdale, and Los Angeles. The strikers — around 200 workers in all, including drivers, mechanics, and cleaners —  were provoked by Keolis proposing a new health plan for the workers — one that would replace their existing coverage with what’s known as Health Plan of Nevada. That’s a plan offered to low-income families,” Michael Lansborough explained. “It’s a travesty for those who need that insurance when we can afford what we already have.”
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