2023 has become a banner year for worker strikes.
“Walkouts among workers were common from post-World War II through the 1970s. But the early 1980s ushered in an era of crackdowns on striking workers, causing strike activity to plummet – the effects of which workers are still feeling today.
But this has been a watershed year. So far in 2023, there have been 22 major work stoppages, meaning strikes involving at least 1,000 workers, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 17 of those strikes have been at companies, making it the largest number strikes in the private sector since 2011.
The inequities of the pandemic, coupled with inflation, has fueled a rise in worker unrest. Many have walked off their jobs to demand better pay and benefits, as many unions negotiate their first contracts since the pandemic began.
On the heels of a so-called “hot labor summer,” workers in a wide range of sectors are still on strike, from autoworkers at the Detroit Three to hotel workers and Hollywood actors in Los Angeles.
Labor experts say this year’s high-profile private-sector strikes – many of which are yielding concrete gains for unions – could mark another turning point in the U.S. labor movement.”
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