There is strength in numbers. Only by coming together and unionizing can workers expect to negotiate with their employer on an even playing field. One way workers take a stand for better wages, benefits, and working conditions is by going on strike. Strikes send an important message to employers that they cannot take workers for granted.
Given that there are several high-profile strikes that are ongoing locally, this article describes what each is about and what the unions are fighting for.
A breakdown of current strikes
There are multiple unions representing several groups of workers currently on strike, including:
- The United Auto Workers (UAW) union recently expanded its strike and includes workers at Stellantis, GM and Ford plants
- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, which the UAW also represents
- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) representing nursing workers
- Casino industry workers, who are represented by several unions, including UNITE HERE, the Teamsters, the Operating Engineers and the Carpenters, as well as the UAW
There are tens of thousands of workers involved in these strikes, and they are all striking for specific reasons.
More than 40,000 autoworkers are striking for increased wages, better wage progression, limits on outsourcing and improved benefits, including health care for workers who retire.
The 1,000 BCBS workers largely consist of customer service and claims agents. These workers are striking for higher wages, better benefits and stopping the outsourcing of their jobs.
Workers at three metro nursing homes are on strike until they negotiate a contract with competitive wages and better benefits that improve staff retention and recruitment.
About 3,700 casino workers are on strike until they receive increased wages, better retirement benefits, and job protections against new technology.
We stand in solidarity with striking workers. When there is success at the bargaining table for some, there is ultimately success for all. The improvement in employment conditions that results from unions engaging in successful strike actions also places additional pressure on other employers to provide similar improvements to their employees or face losing their workforce. That translates into across-the-board gains for American workers.