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Labor Pains: The Strike Wave Sweeping Across America

Workers are getting fed up and fighting back more than ever with strikes and walkouts. How will employers react?

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated February 8th, 2024

Lately, the labor movement has been making headlines, showing that blue-collar workers are fed up.

While profits are rising at many major companies, those profits are not being passed down to those that make those profits happen. Whether you believe in the unions, or hate them – the reality is the workers who make things happen every day, are underpaid.

The retail workers, truck drivers, warehouse workers, and many others are finally saying “enough is enough”.

Recent stories include tense negotiations in the automotive industry, labor disputes at well-known coffee chains, and even unionization efforts at “woke” companies. Everyday it seems a new strike is being announced as workers begin to push back on important issues like pay and healthcare.

Here are some updates on the latest strikes.

General Motors Strike

General Motors has been negotiating a new contract with its workers, including a considerable 25% pay increase. The proposed contract became a contentious topic among union members.

Voting results as of November 15, 2023 on a tentative contract agreement were too close to call. It was stated that vote tallies at last count were around 55-60% against the contract.

Ultimately, it seems the contract will be approved. But it’s worth noting that some union members felt they deserved more. Other critics were disappointed with the lack of larger concessions.

Starbucks Strike

Starbucks Workers United is launching what they call their largest strike action today. Ironically they chose the popular Red Cup Day to take action. A similar attempt was made last year via a walkout, but failed. The sales on Red Cup Day in 2022 were the brand’s highest single sales day in history – even with that walkout.

The strike aims to bring attention to the ongoing unionization efforts at Starbucks, where only 360 out of 9,000 stores have unionized. The union is claiming that Starbuck’s is refusing to talk on issues like staffing and scheduling.

strike signs on ground

Pharmacy Walkouts

Pharmacy workers across several chains, including CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, launched “Pharmageddon” in October 2023. This was a 3-day movement and the third of the season.

They had the support from the American Pharmacists Association. While the companies claim there was no major disruptions to business, there were several stores that needed to close due to the walkout. Decreased staff, increased duties, and safety concerns for patients are the reason for the walkout.

The results of the walkout were mixed. Some companies made small concessions like limiting the number of vaccinations in a day or trying to add additional staff.

United Auto Workers – Mack Trucks Strike

In October 2023, the United Auto Workers members rejected a tentative contract agreement from Mack Trucks. The vote was 73% against the proposal by the company.

As of November 16th 2023, a new 5-year contract was ratified ending the month-long strike. The approved contract includes an increase in wages for top rate earners of 36% over five years, this includes an immediate 15% raise. Some employees not already at their top rates could see wage hakes of up to 55% over five years with an immediate increase of 20%.

With the strong financial results Mack has been having – it is the least they could do.

Las Vegas Hotel Strike Averted

Almost 35,000 union members were ready to strike last Friday, November 10, 2023, in Las Vegas. Caesars Entertainment, MGM Resorts International, and Wynn Resorts were the affected casinos, but decided to meet the terms of the unions requests.

With the Las Vegas Grand Prix looming, it was a smart time to play the strike card. The casinos would lose a lot of money if a strike happened during this huge event that will draw hundreds of thousands of people.

The approved contract is said to contain the largest wage increase negotiated by the Culinary Workers Union Local 225 in 88 years.

As the labor movement continues to make waves, we can expect to see more of these strikes and walkouts.

Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.