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More Than 100,000 Workers Threaten Strikes In October ‘As Unions Flex Their Muscles’

Published Thursday, October 14, 2021
by Karl Evers-Hillstrom/The Hill
More Than 100,000 Workers Threaten Strikes In October ‘As Unions Flex Their Muscles’

(ACROSS THE UNITED STATES) - Workers in various industries nationwide are threatening to go on Strike in a sweeping effort to secure higher pay and better working conditions.  More than 100,000 Unionized Employees - between Hollywood Production Crew Members, John Deere Factory Workers and Kaiser Permanente Nurses - have overwhelmingly voted to authorize strikes and are preparing to join the picket line unless they get stronger Collective Bargaining Agreements.

Thousands are already on Strike, including 1,900 Communications Workers of America (CWA)-represented Buffalo, New York Hospital Workers, 700 Massachusetts Nurses and 1,400 Kellogg Plant Workers in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

The wave of strikes comes at a key moment for Labor Groups, which have steadily lost ground in recent decades amid Anti-Union legislation and corporate crackdowns on organizing.

But with companies now struggling to find Employees, Unions are finding leverage in their effort to boost front-line wages that have historically been limited due to a steady supply of applicants willing to take lower-paying jobs.

In a near-unanimous vote earlier this week, Unions representing more than 24,000 Kaiser Permanente Nurses and other Health Care Workers in California and Oregon authorized a potential Strike after contract negotiations stalled.

Roughly 38,000 Kaiser Workers have now authorized their Union Leaders to call a Strike, if necessary.

Kaiser Nurses, who are protesting pandemic-induced burnout exacerbated by low staffing levels, are pushing for 4% annual raises and ramped-up hiring.

They oppose the company’s offer to increase annual pay by 1% over the next three years and implement a two-tier system that would pay newly hired Workers less than longer-tenured Employees.

Oregon Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals President Jodi Barschow said Kaiser’s proposals “show a profound disrespect for the Front Line Health Care Workers who are risking their lives during COVID.”

Though they’re far apart on contract talks, both sides say they want to avoid a Strike that would severely disrupt medical care amid the Coronavirus Pandemic.

In the Midwest, more than 10,000 John Deere Employees could walk out today (Thursday, October 14th) after overwhelmingly voting to reject a new contract negotiated between the farm equipment manufacturer and United Auto Workers (UAW) over the weekend. 

Ninety percent of the Union’s Members rejected the proposal that would provide immediate 5% to 6% raises for most Workers, according to UAW Vice President Chuck Browning.

Workers said the pay raises were inadequate given that John Deere is expected to make nearly $6 billion in profits this year.

Union Members also disapproved of how the pay hikes would be offset by pension cuts for new hires.

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