The Reuters newswires report that
After a weekend agreement was reached between Hollywood make-up artists and camera operators, thousands of employees continue on strike in the United States, seeking better pay and working conditions. The tight employment market has only given them more confidence in their strike.
A Frosted Flakes factory worker in Memphis, Tennessee, Kevin Bradshaw works for Kellogg (NYSE:K) Co., the company that makes the vast majority of the cereal sold in the United States.
Since the 5th of October, around 1,400 workers at facilities in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Tennessee have been striking over changes to their healthcare coverage, retirement benefits, and vacation time. Union leaders believe that the business is pressing for these reductions.
Tobacco, Bakery, Confectionary, and Grain Millers International Union Local 252G vice president Bradshaw declared, “Enough is enough.”
“We can’t afford to keep giving stuff free to a corporation that has generated record-breaking financial returns.”
A near-walkout by union members who claim they are fed up with low or no increases and other givebacks on Saturday missed joining the Kellogg strike by 60,000 behind-the-scenes workers on films and television shows was the latest showing of power.
Officials at Kellogg were not available for comment, although the firm has maintained its remuneration is among the best in the industry.
Labor activists claim that companies have not treated them fairly because many of their members were deemed vital during the COVID-19 crisis.
A friendly White House and a job market that saw a record number of Americans resign in August have given unions the confidence to put employers to the test.
According to Cornell University’s Labor Action Tracker, at least 176 strikes have been called so far this year, with 17 of those occurring in October alone.
Liz Shuler, president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor organization, stated last week at a SABEW media conference that workers are on strike for a better bargain and a better living.
Workers are refusing to return to low-wage occupations that put their health at danger after the epidemic, she said, noting that the hashtag #Striketober was trending on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR).
A unsuccessful organizing attempt at an Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) plant near Birmingham, Alabama, earlier this year hasn’t stopped union officials from believing the stars are right for them to make progress.
Labor relations have entered a new age, according to Harley Shaiken, a retired University of California, Berkeley professor of labor relations.
According to the survey, “workers feel in control and there’s plenty of ground to make up.”
This is a struggle to get back into, or at least stay in, the middle class, he explained.
SOLIDARITY IN THE OVAL OFFICE
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union membership has been dropping consistently over the past three decades, and it will only account for around 11% of working Americans in 2020, down from 20% in 1983.
A Gallup poll conducted in August found that 68% of Americans now support unions, the highest percentage since 1965. Among those aged 18 to 29, that number rises to nearly 78%.
The widespread belief among union organizers that President Joe Biden is the most pro-union president in modern times is helping to feed the aspirations of union leaders.
The Democrat party formed a working committee in April to encourage labor unionization.
He had supported the right of Amazon workers in Alabama to establish a union two months before, but the effort had been unsuccessful.
It’s clear that the Teamsters want to keep up their pressure on the corporation to better manage its warehouse operations.
Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) locked out 650 workers from its refinery and an adjacent factory in May after a local United Steelworkers union failed to submit a contract proposal in Beaumont, Texas, and other places where unions have suffered.
The contract will be voted on by union members on Tuesday, and union leaders have urged them to vote it down.
When asked why it needed to enforce the seniority adjustments, Exxon stated it was to prevent a prospective walkout from disrupting operations.
Some union members, meantime, are trying to decertify the organization.
There has been a noticeable amount of dissatisfaction in some industries:
United Auto Workers (UAW) members at Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) voted 90 percent in favor of going on strike after the company’s contract offer was rejected last week.
The 10,000 employees of the world’s largest agricultural equipment manufacturer want a “greater slice of the pie,” as UAW Region 8 head Mitchell Smith put it.
However, after UAW members decided to go on strike, Deere stated it intended to keep its employees as the top paid in the industry and declined to comment.
IATSE, which represents Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes employees, had pushed for shorter workdays, longer rest times, lunch breaks, and higher wages for those at the bottom of the pay scale.
Even if the Hollywood employees averted a walkout, picket lines may become even more congested in the future.
Earlier this month, more than 28,000 healthcare employees at Kaiser Permanente’s 13 Southern California hospitals and hundreds more medical facilities overwhelmingly approved of a strike.
They’re calling for greater salaries and a larger workforce in order to combat the increased stress brought on by the epidemic.
Nearly 2,000 healthcare employees in Buffalo, New York, have been on strike since October 1 in response to this demand.
During a pause from picketing, Kathy Kelly, a nurse at Mercy Hospital in the Catholic Health System for 38 years, remarked, “We’ve been working short at Mercy for five years.”
“It’s time to put an end to this.
There’s just so much we can provide.”