September 30, 2022

Hardwood Paroxysm

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Autumn wave of strikes shook the United States

Rail workers are at war, with the risk of crippling nearly a third of freight transport and costing the economy billions. Thousands of nurses are camping out at health centers in Minnesota, the largest three-day strike in the industry. Once again, recently: Raging teachers from Seattle to Ohio and auto workers protesting in the Midwest.

Signs of a warm autumn are in the air in the United States, where inflation has eroded living standards and crises in people and in working and security conditions that have remained difficult in the wake of the pandemic that has exacerbated inequality. A fact that pushed the American labor union towards new unemployment from one coast to another in the country. Since January, requests to federal authorities in the NLRB for elections and certification of union entry into the company have increased by 58%. Gallup polls show a 71% approval of the union, a record number since 1965.

And of course, the historic decline still remains, with a 6.1% penetration in the private sector that rises to 10.3% with the addition of public employees, a percentage halved in 40 years. The number of national members also fell last year, from 241 thousand to 14 million.

But unprecedented successes emerged: In 2021, Cornell counted at least 225 large and small disturbances, culminating in October. And 2022 doesn’t seem to be passed: even employees in the least traditional and most passive companies have continued to “labor unions”. From Starbucks (more than 200 in two years), which has now announced new benefits for non-union employees in the counterattack. Until the first success in the Amazon warehouse (in New York) and in the Apple Store (in Maryland).

health

The new vividness of the newly discovered agitation emerges. In Minnesota, 15,000 nurses have been on strike since yesterday for three days against large local health groups. The demands: better wages, more hires, an opinion of work shifts criticized as stressful. Health unions are up to date with successful protests in Pennsylvania, where they struck new deals with 13 nursing homes.