"Will angry US workers create lasting labor movement?"

Throughout 2021, American workers stood up and fought back to an unusual degree. Workers went on strike at Kellogg’s, Nabisco, John Deere, Columbia University, and numerous hospitals, while non-union “essential” workers – furious about how they’ve been treated – walked out at supermarkets, warehouses, and fast-food restaurants. And a record number of Americans have been quitting their jobs each month, more than 4 million monthly, fed up and eager for something better.

Millions of workers are angry – angry that they didn’t get hazard pay for risking their lives during the pandemic, angry that they’ve been forced to work 70 or 80 hours a week, angry that they received puny raises while executive pay soared, angry that they didn’t get paid sick days when they got sick.

Out of this comes a question that looms large for America’s workers: will this surge of worker action and anger be a mere flash in the pan or will it be part of a longer-lasting phenomenon? The answer to this important question could turn on whether all this anger and energy are somehow transformed into a larger movement. At least for now, America’s labor leaders seem to be doing very little to tap all this energy and hope and to build it into something bigger and longer-lasting. 

Many labor leaders evidently think it’s impossible or improbable to turn this year’s energy and anger into a new movement or a big, new group.  So why isn’t the labor movement seizing on this year’s burst of worker energy to build something bigger? I was discussing this with friend who is a professor of labor studies, and she said she thought that most of today’s union leaders were “constitutionally incapable” of building big or being bold and ambitious. She said that after decades of being on the defensive, of being beaten down by hostile corporations, hostile GOP lawmakers and hostile judicial decisions, many labor leaders seem unable to dream big or think outside the box on how to attract large numbers of workers in ways beyond the traditional one-workplace-at-a-time union drives.

Read the complete article at www.newsconcerns.com.

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