The number of strikes grew significantly this past year as workers demanded higher wages and improved working conditions.
According to researchers at the University of Cornell, the number of worker strikes in 2022 increased by a massive 39 percent. Many of the factors that contributed to the increase were the mass labor shortages that occurred in the country.
In 2022, healthcare workers made up a significant portion of the labor movement. In September, about 15,000 nurses in Minnesota walked out for three days, which was the largest walkout by nurses in the country. Other healthcare workers also went on strike throughout the year.
According to Johnnie Kallas, the project director of the Labor Action Tracker, many healthcare workers were affected by the understaffing, with some suffering from burnout due to the stress of their job.
According to him, burnout among healthcare workers was likely caused by the global pandemic. It also affected other industries such as food services. Some companies experienced a wave of union activity and walkouts.
In 2021, the first Starbucks location in the US to vote to unionize was opened. This led to other efforts at the company's stores across the country. In just a couple of months, over 70 of these establishments had voted to join a union.
In 2022, Amazon’s New York warehouse became the first company to officially recognize a union. A similar event was also held at an REI store in the city. A Trader Joe’s branch in Massachusetts also became the first to organize.
In Maine, Chipotle caught the attention of the media after some of its workers went on strike. Following the walkout, the employees of the restaurant signed union cards and submitted a petition to unionization.
According to Dan Bowling, a lecturer at Duke University's School of Law, the rise in union activity this year was due to the increasing attention that the labor movement has received. He noted that the younger generation was more likely to participate in organized labor activities.
According to Bowling, a lecturer in employment and labor studies, the rise of unionization across the US is due to the increasing number of highly educated workers entering the workforce. This is also happening in workplaces that are different from those previously associated with unions.
The rise in unionization can also be attributed to the increasing number of educated workers entering the workforce. These individuals are more likely to be connected to the internet and social media.
In early June, the National Labor Relations Board reported that the number of union representation petitions had increased by over 50% during the first half of the year. The agency also noted that the number of unfair labor practice charges had increased by 14%.
In addition, having Joe Biden in office has helped boost the labor movement. He has been described as the "most pro-union president" by the media and has regularly played up his support for labor organizations.
A Gallup poll conducted in the US revealed that over 70% of the country's residents approve of labor unions. This level of support is the highest since the 1960s, and it is a significant increase from the previous year. In 2009, only about half of the country's residents supported unions.
Despite the high level of support for the labor movement, a survey revealed that only 6% of Americans actually belong to a union. In addition, only 7% of the respondents said that their household members were also members of unions.
During the midterm elections, unions were able to secure a major win. In Illinois, voters narrowly voted to add collective bargaining to the state constitution. This strategy could be used by labor organizers in other states.
In 2022, organized labor suffered a major loss. Several rail unions voted against a deal that was made by Biden's administration, which threatened a major strike. The issue came up during the holiday season.
Most Republicans and Democrats in Congress voted to allow the legislative branch to override the strike. This strategy was criticized by organized labor.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Washington Examiner.