Market insights and outlook
October 14, 2021
Yet another economic concern – labor strikes
October 14, 2021
AFTER YEARS OF LOSS OF IMPRESSION – AND LIMBS – organized work flexes its muscles. The worker shortage has given unions some leverage, and the result is an impending wave of strikes that could give pro-Labor President Joe Biden another headache, as yet another inflationist hot spot emerges.
WORKERS COULD SOON REACH THE PICKET LINES at John Deere, Kaiser Permanente, and even on Hollywood movie lots. Thousands of people are already on strike, including 2,000 New York hospital workers, 700 Massachusetts nurses and 1,400 factory workers in Kellogg, Michigan, according to an article published this morning in The Hill.com. Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
THE POTENTIAL STRIKE TO WATCH OUT for is at Kaiser Permanente, where 38,000 workers, mostly overworked nurses, demand annual wage increases of 4%; the company is offering 1%. A similar gap plagues John Deere, where workers want an immediate 5-6% wage increase. And TV shows and movies could be shut down as 60,000 crew members threaten to go on strike early next week.
WORKERS HAVE A LEVER, knowing that if there are walkouts, employers will struggle to find replacements due to the nationwide labor shortage, The Hill concludes. The United States had 10.4 million job vacancies in August; as we noted yesterday in our article on workers quitting.
IN A RECENT INTERVIEW with The Hill, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler said workers were “fed up” with tough working conditions and stagnant wages amid a pandemic that has worsened income inequalities, leading them to demand better contracts.
THE COLLABORATION Cry of Labor: “It is the capitalist system that has pushed us to the brink,” she added. “The inequalities are only getting worse.” Prepare to hear more rhetoric like this; organized labor, reduced to nearly 10% of the workforce, has a rallying cry.
EVERYBODY WANTS THEM: The race for better compensation and more federal benefits is likely to increase, as workers grapple with higher energy and food prices; real hourly earnings have declined in recent months. We have consistently warned that the most serious inflationary threat is rising labor costs, which are not âtransitoryâ.
THE FEDERAL RESERVE SHOULD BAN THE WORD “TRANSITIONAL” – this certainly does not apply at work, as salary increases and enrollment bonuses will not be waived. Perhaps the prices of wood, copper or gasoline can be reversed, but the wage increases will not be lowered; they are on the rise, as the impending strikes will show.
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