The US worker-boss war has just begun: Expect more conflicts in 2023

But strong labor market that has given workers a solid edge over their bosses seems to be waning. Last month, in the middle of layoffs on a large scale (mainly in the tech space), unemployment rose to 3.7% from 3.4% six months earlier. But even though it’s not what it was earlier this year, it’s still steady: In October, there was 10.3 million open jobsnearly double the average for each October from 2000 to 2020 (4.6 million).

That means workers aren’t planning to give up their power in the new year, says Thomas Kochan, professor of employment studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. told TIME.

He expects to see “more conflicts, more strikes and more rejections” among workers by 2023. In strong years, workers remain focused on profit profits, and at the same time, companies think about cutting costs in advance to prepare for a financial crisis. slow down. That difference in expectations, Kochan said, “creates a higher likelihood of conflict and strikes.”

One need look no further to find examples of this in both white and blue-collar industries. In the first day of this month, more than 1,100 The New York Times journalists come out of the company’s Manhattan headquarters in protest of protracted and protracted union contract negotiations. The strike — the first in a newspaper in 40 years — lasted for 24 hours, as workers insisted on negotiating in good faith over policies like telework and wage increases.

And on one of the busiest days of the year—Black Friday—Amazon workers globally go on strike as part of a coordinated movement called “Make Amazon Pay.” More than 80 unions, environmental groups and tax watchdogs have joined the effort to demand that Amazon pay its workers fair wages, “respect their right to join a union, pay their share.” fair taxation and truly committed to environmental sustainability”.

Workers’ conditions have even caught the eye of the government. President Joe Biden signed an invoice in early December to prevent a freight rail strike that, if it happened, could very well have pushed the United States into a deep recession. The railway workers solidarity are asking for paid sick leave and less brutal scheduled hours, among other benefits.

“The bill I’m about to sign ends a difficult rail dispute and helps our nation avoid what is sure to be an economic disaster at a very bad time in the calendar,” Biden said. said at the time.

All told, 374 worker strikes begin in 2022—a 39% increase from the previous year, each Cornell’s Industrial and Industrial Relations Tracker. It revealed that about 78,000 workers were laid off in the first half of 2022, up from 26,500 in the first half of 2021. Most of those strikes revolved around concerns about health, safety and staffing shortages, said Johnnie. Kallas, one of Tracker’s project managers, recently told axis.

That number is likely to rise again next year. More than 70% of Americans now support unions, one Gallup survey August 2022 found—the last time such a high was in 1965, when the number of Americans who were union members doubled.

In addition, drastic actions such as quitting or quitting can feel less daunting when workers are confident that a new job awaits them if they quit or are fired. For every unemployed American looking for a job, there are almost two holes. Some workers have found themselves without work never applied for unemployment because they can get a new job very quickly.

As the year draws to a close, the culmination of these findings suggests that the battle between workers and bosses may be just beginning.

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