What is the reason behind labor unrest in America?
Labor leaders say low unemployment rates mask growing income inequality between rich and poor Americans. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released Thursday, average hourly earnings rose 2.9% year-over-year in February compared to January. That marked an increase from the previous month’s gain of 0.2%. However, wage growth remains below levels seen before the Great Recession.
Meanwhile, median household incomes fell 3.5% year-over-year in 2019. The bureau reported Thursday that poverty rates increased slightly among children under 18 years old, rising from 13.8% in 2018 to 14.3% in 2019. Poverty rates remain lower than pre-recession levels, however. The coronavirus has caused a sharp drop-off in business activity across industries and regions around the world. The resulting economic slowdown has led many employers to cut back on wages or impose unpaid furloughs for non-essential employees during this crisis. But it’s also created new opportunities for labor organizers as companies struggle with cash flow shortages that have forced them to lay off hundreds of thousands of people.
In some cases, those layoffs were followed by mass walkouts organized through social media platforms like Facebook Live, which allow groups of people to communicate directly with one another over video chat while avoiding public spaces where they could be exposed to infection.
What are Some disastrous experiences of workers’ strikes?
Workers at several fast-food chains staged nationwide protests after their bosses announced plans to slash pay amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Some restaurants closed temporarily because of worker unrest, but others remained open even though they had no intention of paying staff until the government lifted its stay-at-home orders.
Other businesses shut down entirely, including two major airlines: American Airlines Group Inc., the owner of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, said late
March that it would suspend all flights indefinitely; United Continental Holdings Inc. broke domestic service earlier this week. And there have been widespread reports of employers laying off large numbers of workers without offering any compensation.
Hollywood crew workers are poised to strike.
What’s behind the labor unrest?
In Hollywood, crews working on movies such as “The Invisible Man” and “A Quiet Place Part II” walked out when production was halted due to the virus. Crew members say they haven’t received paychecks since April 15 — more than six weeks ago — despite working overtime before then. They’re demanding $1 per hour retroactive pay plus additional payments based on how long each person spent shooting scenes for the movie. Many other unions representing actors, writers, directors, producers, editors, sound mixers, grips, electricians, carpenters, painters, and other technicians are expected to follow suit if negotiations fail.
The Buffalo Hospital Strike Is the Latest in a New Wave of Labor Unrest
The hospital system says it will close three hospitals unless state officials agree to give it money to keep operating. About 1,000 health care workers went on strike Wednesday morning, saying they don’t want patients treated in emergency rooms instead of doctors’ offices. More than 100 nurses joined the picket line outside St. Joseph Mercy Health System facilities in downtown Buffalo. A smaller number of unionized medical assistants, security guards, and maintenance workers also participated. All told, about 10 percent of the workforce stopped work. Patients can still get treatment at urgent care centers, outpatient clinics, and private practices.
How do they Overcome this labor unrest in America?
Some states have taken action to address issues with wages and benefits. In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation into law Tuesday designed to help ensure that employees receive back pay during the coronavirus pandemic. Under the new rules, companies must provide written notice within five days of terminating or furloughing employees who were not paid during the shutdown. Those affected by layoffs could file claims for lost wages up to four months later, including time spent looking for jobs and receiving unemployment insurance. But some experts warn that these measures won’t be enough to prevent future strikes.
Is America ready for another wave of labor unrest?
Yes! There has been a lot of talk about whether we should expect another round of labor unrest like what happened after the 2008 financial crisis. I think there are good reasons to believe that we might see something similar again. First, many people feel left behind economically because of the recent economic downturn. And there are lots of things going wrong right now: We’ve got high joblessness, stagnant wages, and too much debt. So you’d need only look at those conditions to understand why people would be angry. Second, there are plenty of examples where governments failed to respond effectively to significant crises—and that included their responses to the 2008 recession and the COVID-19 outbreak. Third, there are lots of groups that may try to exploit any weakness in our economy.
This pandemic has toiled the world. It has brought humans to an extent that they have to show their different faces to survive in various sectors of society. The firm owners must look forward to helping them and giving them the necessary financial aid for their better survival. Everyone must build up their humanity high to see everyone with compassion and help them unendingly.