More than 500 labor actions, including strikes and protests, have occurred in the United States since Jan. 1, including 22 in Massachusetts, according to Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
From the Teamsters’ settlement with UPS to the ongoing screen actors and writers strikes, more than 320,000 workers have participated in in the actions this year, Cornell research showed.
David Jacobs, a management professor at American University, said the current negotiating battles will set a precedent for others.
“We have kind of an ‘Empire Strikes Back’ situation, in which we’ve seen enormous organizing and hope on the worker side and a battle in the courts that will determine whether a more progressive labor policy is effectuated,” Jacobs told the Herald.
An author and expert in the field of labor, Jacobs noted the rising support unions have from Americans since 2010. Gallup research showed 48% of Americans backed labor unions 13 years ago, a number which has steadily climbed to 71% in 2022 and 67% this year.
Jacobs has also noticed that a majority of his students have been pro-union compared to years past. Among the contributing factors he has heard were the financial crisis of 2008 and the coronavirus pandemic, which led his students to question the labor norms.
“The lesson for management should be that if you rely upon contingencies… you’re also creating a less resilient deployment system in which you lose workers and they’re less motivated under a variety of conditions,” Jacobs said.
The strikes and settlements of recent years are are less cut and dry than some may think, Jacobs said. A multitude of factors such as court rulings and political influence play a significant role in how these negotiations are handled and how they will shape the ones to come.
“It may be that labor can take advantage of the increased support from the public that appears to be available at the moment,” he said. “But there also is a very concerted effort continuing by employers to defeat this opportunity for labor.”
The SAG-AFTRA strike against entertainment corporations like Disney and Netflix gives rise to developments that, according to Jacobs, will become more prominent in a variety of other labor laws and negotiations going forward.
“Mechanization and automation have always been big issues and a lot of economists have said that it will all balance out and there will always be jobs, but it is possible for the proportion of people employed to decline based on the use of technology in places where it’s not the most helpful,” Jacobs said.
The work halt in Hollywood marks the first time in more than 60 years that writers and actors have joined together and strike. The Writers’ Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA’s authorization of a strike in April and June, respectively, were met with overwhelming support from members of both groups.
Negotiations with AMPTP began on June 7, and while no agreement has been reached, a new twist to the writers’ plight was thrown into the ring. Reports came out Saturday that SAG-AFTRA requested approval to strike against video game companies, underscoring the role technology and artificial intelligence will have in these negotiations.
“It’s sort of a curious thing that employers when given an opportunity would prefer to pay nothing for the work that’s done in their organization,” Jacobs said. “So if they can create an AI stable and sustain writing and production, they’re going to try to do that. The unions are very concerned that they are acting to preserve the working side of the industry.”
The Teamsters’ high-profile, 5-year contract agreement with UPS, meanwhile, set a new standard for how nonunionized companies such as Amazon should be managing their employees’ wages and benefit packages, according to Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien, the former president of Teamsters Local 25 in Charlestown.
Workers will receive pay raises of $2.75 more per hour in 2023, a figure which will rise to $7.50 by the end of the contract.
Jacobs said the Teamsters’ efforts resulted in a “significant improvement in terms of the two-tiered workforce.” What really stood out to Jacobs was how the negotiations and subsequent settlement provided hope for change on the unions’ side.
“It was a sign that things can be different,” he said. “For people to move, to be active and challenge their environment, they have to feel there’s some hope for change.”
Denial of responsibility! Planetconcerns is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.