Working people are fed up.
With the full reopening of businesses across the country this year, an increasing number of American workers are reevaluating the role of work in their lives. They’re realizing (most) bosses suck, and they’ve had it. Their frustration turned into collective action that’s leading to historic wins in their workplaces, and building momentum for a stronger, unified labor movement.
When the pandemic shut down our country, these essential workers kept our country afloat by showing up to work every day despite the unknown risks to their health. These workers bore the brunt of the pandemic, and still to this day, they continue to struggle for their health, safety, and respect while at work. The difference now is they are fed up and fighting back.
Since October, workers have been standing together, walking off the job, and striking for safer workplaces, higher wages, and better benefits. Here in California, labor flexed its muscle when more than 60,000 IATSE workers threatened to go on strike over workplace conditions. The union came within 24 hours of a nationwide strike. Over 98% voted yes, with voter turnout among eligible members at nearly 90%. It was the first time members had ever been willing to go that far to secure a fair contract.
Their overwhelming display of union solidarity not only led to a contract agreement for these workers, but their action spotlighted the growing number of union actions that were taking place across the country: these actions now known as “Striketobter”, “Strikesgiving”, and “StrikeMas”.
Now, bolstered by support from Americans nationwide, labor unions are in a favorable position to push for more. Sixty-eight percent of Americans approve of labor unions, the highest Gallup has measured since 1965. Not only does labor enjoy a high percentage of support, but many see labor unions as the solution to issues facing Americans today, since unions have been delivering for their workers since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Specifically, working people have played a significant role in advocating for actions that have helped families weather the COVID-19 crisis–stimulus checks, increased support for child care, supplemental unemployment benefits, a federal eviction moratorium and more.
So the time for labor is now. We have the support of the American people. We have the support of the White House, as well as a majority in both the House and the Senate. And, we have an increasing number of workers who are standing up and demanding what they deserve.
It’s time to think bigger. The country is ready for it. We’re not only ready for it, but all across the country workers are also demanding it.