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Strike In The United States: The Pandemic And Massive Resignations Create A 'Striketober'

The decline in the labor force, as well as low wages, are some of the reasons that have led to nearly 40,000 people going on strike in the United States.

Strikes in the United States

The strike is held so that employees can "earn a decent salary, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules." Photo: YT-Telemundo

LatinAmerican Post | Christopher Ramírez Hernández

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Leer en español: Huelga en Estados Unidos: la pandemia y renuncias masivas crean una 'primavera sindical'

"The United States is on strike", is the message sent by the main media in the world since last October 14, when more than 10 thousand employees of John Deere, a company that specialized in the creation of machines for the agricultural sector and construction, decided to protest against the company.

According to Chuck Browning, vice president of the union of workers (known as United Auto Workers - UAW), in an official statement, the strike takes place in order that the employees can “earn a decent salary, retire with dignity and establish rules of fair work ”.

For her part, the president of the main American union body AFL-CIO, Liz Shuler, said that since her organization they have observed: “how workers protest and collectively exercise their rights to fight against corporations that do not share the wealth that workers have contributed. to create".

In the case of John Deere, employees say they are not comfortable with the proposal of only having a salary increase of 5% to 6% per year, taking into account, according to the UAW, that this has no comparison with the increase that their employees have received. executives in recent years.

In fact, the scales are tipped in such a way that, for example, only the CEO of the company, John May, has seen his salary rise from $ 5 million in 2019 to $ 16 million in 2020; a difference of 26.666% in relation to the 60 thousand dollars a year that an average worker earns.

More unemployment; less workforce

However, one of the reasons that have gained more strength among striking workers is the labor deficit that has occurred in recent months in the United States, due to the massive resignation of employees from various industries throughout the country. According to figures from the Labor Department, there are already more than 10.4 million vacancies that need to be filled, with more than 4.3 million resignations evidenced just last August.

For this reason, and taking into account that during the strongest crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of people had to make up for the absences of those who had to stay at home, workers today demand that companies recognize the extra effort with better working and economic conditions.

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On the other hand, Dan Osborn, an employee of Kellogg's, who together with more than 1,400 colleagues make up one of the 17 strikes that have started this October and is president of a local branch of the Union of Bakers, Confectioners, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM, for its acronym in English), has explained that the need to fill vacancies has made several companies seek to fill the most "ungrateful" positions by subjecting new potential employees to a two-level payment system, in which they would enter earning much less than the old workers even if both groups carry out the same activities within the companies.

Impact for the Latino community in the US

Without a doubt, Latinos or “Hispanic Americans” are one of the groups that have been most affected by this work stoppage, in what some experts have called “the Striketober of the United States”.

According to a Wells Fargo bank report published in early September, "in the last decade, Hispanic Americans have been the primary engine in the growth of the workforce" in the North American country.

Thus, the generalized strike that already has about 40 thousand people absent from their jobs, is a situation that leaves consequences for the Latino population, especially at a time when they had “earnings increases above the average "And reported" a growing slice in the growth of spending. "

With all this, although the outlook seems murky for this community, the truth is that its employment situation, in most cases, is still precarious, and occupying two-thirds of the growth in the labor force in the United States, between the years 2010 and 2020, according to Wells Fargo data, it is almost certain that many Latinos are currently participating in this strike in search of improving their working conditions in this country.

Therefore, it is not surprising the support of the White House with President Joe Biden considered the most pro-union president in recent years. There is also a 68% of Americans' probation for these job groups, according to a Gallup poll in August. The foregoing can be considered a good indication so that workers can see their requests resolved; a scene in which Latinos would be some of the great beneficiaries.