Three Strikes, Someone’s Out…


Joe Williams, Pigeon Enthusiast and Part-Time Contributor

It should come as no great revelation to most that the United States is presently undergoing deep social and economic unrest. Between the global pandemic, the inherent instability of the start of a new president’s term, and a great number of other factors, the United States is facing unprecedented internal turmoil. One such symptom of turmoil has made itself known in worker’s strikes across the country, where workers refuse to work until their demands (rather, the demands of their unions) have been met.

It is no surprise that these strikes have come when they did. The United States is, thanks to the quarantine put in place due to the pandemic and a generous bump to unemployment benefits, experiencing a massive labor shortage in all sectors. Most notably, these shortages are visible in blue-collar jobs, where the United States has always had need of more workers, especially in the past 50 years. This shortage has inspired confidence in many workers looking for better wages, conditions, benefits, and what-have-you, leading to more aggressive demands and more strikes. 

These strikes are widespread to the point of many on social media referring to this month as “striketober”, with no signs of abatement in the near future. A Volvo worker strike in Norfolk, Virginia was resolved successfully, but nurses in Worcester, Massachusetts, Kellog’s workers in Omaha, Nebraska, bus drivers in Reno, New Mexico, and John Deere line workers across the country are all ongoing, with only the most tentative of endings in sight. Many workers cite low pay, poor or no benefits, unsafe working conditions, and unreasonable hours as reasons for striking.

Responses to these strikes vary by company. Few have capitulated, but as stockpiles dwindle and supply lines across the United States grow more and more choked, surrendering to the demands of workers is increasingly becoming the most plausible outcome. Other companies prefer more direct responses. Though the labor shortage is great, many companies are attempting to hire non-union workers to break the strike. Some companies, like Kellog’s, are threatening to move production out of the country (namely to Mexico) which was cited by unions as one of the key motivations behind the strike.

Whether these strikes will abate any time soon is unknown, but strikers are hopeful that companies will be willing to cooperate with these strikes and provide more generous contracts for their workers. Companies are additionally hopeful that these strikes soon come to an end, though for admittedly different reasons. For many strikes, though, negotiations could take months, or years, placing further strain upon the United States’ already strained supply lines.