Workers Strike Across Industries
Labor Activists Gear Up for Strikes
Thousands of workers across industries are currently on picket lines, demanding higher pay and better benefits.
Labor activists argue that many of these workers were considered essential during the pandemic, but were not treated as they should have been by employers. Unions are pushing for more from companies across America. So far in 2021, there have been 176 strikes, with 17 launched in October so far.
Workers Strike at Kellogg and Deere
At Kellogg (K), the cereal and packaged foods company, about 1,400 workers at plants in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee have been on strike since October 5. They are demanding better wages and benefits. These striking employees represent about 5% of Kellogg’s worldwide staff.
Meanwhile at Deere (DE), the farm machinery maker, more than 10,000 workers went on strike at five plants last week. The move came after the United Auto Workers union rejected the contract which Deere offered workers who wanted higher wages and better benefits. Of Deere’s hourly workers, 90% who are represented by the UAW agreed to go on strike, marking the biggest strike by a private company’s workers since a six-week UAW strike at GM in 2019.
Unions Have an Uphill Battle
Though strikes are taking place, unions are up against significant challenges. Union membership has been declining for decades. As of 2020, just 11% of workers are union members, down from 20% in 1983. However, 68% of Americans view unions favorably, the highest percentage since 1965.
Unions have traditionally faced an uphill battle when taking on companies. However, with labor shortages continuing, workers have some bargaining power. It will be interesting to see if there are more strikes in the months to come.
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