Oil and Gas Workers Strike In Norway, Europe’s Energy Crisis May Escalate

Countercurrents | July 05, 2022

Oil and gas workers at state giant Equinor are on strike in Norway, the largest producer of oil and gas in Western Europe. The strike is escalating Europe’s natural-gas crisis a week before a key pipeline with Russia shuts for maintenance. Benchmark Dutch natural gas futures surged 10% on Monday on news of the strike in Norway.

Operator Equinor has initiated a shutdown of three fields in the North Sea as a result of the strike, the company said on Tuesday.

The striking workers are demanding wage increases to deal with rising inflation, which hit 5.7% in May — the highest since 1988, according to Norway’s statistics agency.

The strike that has started on Tuesday is expected to cut Norway’s gas production by 13% from Wednesday. Norway supplies 20% to 25% of EU and UK’s natural-gas demand, according to Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

Read More »

Ecuadorians continue to resist as national strike enters second week

Defying the state of emergency, enduring brutal police and military repression, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians continue to remain on the streets against neoliberalism

Tanya Wadhwa

People’s Dispatch | June 21, 2022

Since June 13, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians have been mobilizing across the country as a part of an indefinite national strike against the right-wing government of President Guillermo Lasso and his regressive economic policies. Photo: Alexander Crespo

Since June 13, hundreds of thousands of Ecuadorians have been mobilizing across the country as a part of an indefinite national strike against the right-wing government of President Guillermo Lasso and his anti-people economic policies. The strike was called for by various Indigenous, peasant and social organizations, with a set of ten demands that address the most urgent needs of the majority of Ecuador’s population.

Read More »

U.S.: Trouble in the Tulips: Organized Farmworkers Win Basic Demands in a Quick Strike

David Bacon

Labour Notes | March 30, 2022

Most of the tulip pickers also work seasonally at the state’s largest berry grower, where they won a union contract in a four-year fight through repeated strikes. So they’re experienced at direct action, and organized themselves quickly. Photo: Edgar Franks

MT. VERNON, WASHINGTON, March 28—Tulips and daffodils symbolize the arrival of spring, but the fields are bitterly cold when workers’ labors begin. Snow still covers the ground when workers go into the tulip rows to plant bulbs in northwest Washington state, near the Canadian border.

Once harvesting starts, so do other problems. When a worker cuts a daffodil, for instance, she or he has to avoid the liquid that oozes from the stem—a source of painful skin rashes.

Yes, the fields of flowers are so beautiful they can take your breath away, but the conditions under which they’re cultivated and harvested can be just as bad as they are for any other crop. “Tulips have always been a hard job, but it’s a job during a time of the year when work is hard to find,” says farmworker Tomas Ramon. “This year we just stopped enduring the problems. We decided things had to change.”

Read More »

U.S.: Over 10,000 John Deere Employees Strike

POLITSTURM | October 13, 2021

Over 10,000 John Deere Employees Strike

Over 10,000 John Deere union employees are going on strike after failing to conclude a collective bargaining agreement. UAW is stating the the company would not come to an agreement over pay, retirement benefits, and improvements in working conditions for the workers. 

“Our members at John Deere strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity and establish fair work rules,” said Chuck Browning, Vice President of UAW Agricultural Implement Department.

Read More »

U.S.: Kellogg Cereal Production Plants Are On Strike

POLITSTURM | October 09, 2021

Kellogg Cereal Production Plants Are On Strike

Kellogg workers across the United States are striking in response to a reduction of benefits and cost-of-living wage increases. The company has also proposed moving production lines from the U.S. to Mexico and implementing a two-tiered employment system.

According to the Bakery and Confectionery Workers International Union of America representing the workers, the proposed system would have new hires making less in wages and would not have the ability to receive a pension. Also, 30% of the current workforce would pay higher costs for healthcare and would lose access to retirement benefits.

Read More »

U.S.: Workers Are Striking Against the Two-Tier System

As Striketober continues to grow, unions are taking up the fight against the two-tier wage system. To put an end to the divisions between generations of workers and ensure equal pay for equal work, it is essential that unions continue this fight until they win.

Sou Mi

Left Voice | October 16, 2021

Photo: Luigi Morris

At the picket lines of striking Kellogg’s workers, sign after sign read the same slogan: “equal pay for equal work.” It is a sentiment a number of workers described to us when we asked them what they’re fighting for. They stressed that they’re fighting against a two-tier system that has divided workers since their last contract was implemented six years ago. They spoke of how unfair it is that more recently hired workers doing the same work alongside older workers on the production line make significantly less in wages and benefits. While senior Tier 1 workers get to choose whether or not they do overtime, overtime hours are forced upon Tier 2 workers in chronically understaffed facilities, many of whom are forced to work 16-hour days, seven days a week. At a rally at the Lancaster ticket in Pennsylvania on Saturday, October 9, a worker, Andrew Johnson, described how Kellogg’s hired new workers with the promise of higher pay and the same benefits that Tier 1 workers get. Yet, after joining, they soon saw how empty those promises were, as there were little to no opportunities for Tier 2 workers to advance. Now, faced with new contract negotiations, Kellogg’s workers are emphatically declaring their solidarity with their more junior coworkers and their right to earn equal pay for equal work. It is a fight they all see as their own.

Read More »

U.S.: Hundreds of Thousands of Workers Are Quitting Their Jobs. But a “General Strike” Is Something Much More Powerful

Madeleine Freeman

Left Voice | October 16, 2021

The photo depicts the general strike in Myanmar in 2021.

In a recent opinion piece for the Guardian, economist and former secretary of labor Robert Reich posits that the United States is in the midst of an “unofficial strike.” Responding to the bourgeois media and economists’ panic over the U.S. Department of Labor’s September jobs report — which showed the lowest number of jobs added for all of 2021 and an increasing number of workers dropping out of the workforce — Reich explains that the hiring challenges facing many industries results from the fact that more and more workers are “reluctant to return to or remain in their old jobs mostly because they’re burned out” and are holding out for better prospects.

While conservatives wring their hands over how big government spending on benefits is incentivizing people not to return to work now that the bosses and politicians decided the pandemic is over, Reich offers another explanation for the “labor shortage.” Pointing to high numbers of workers quitting their jobs each month, and to the numbers of people “in their prime working years” leaving the workforce entirely, Reich sees these trends as a sign that after a year and a half of pandemic lockdowns, layoffs, lack of childcare, and increased precarity, workers are less willing to accept the low wages, inadequate or nonexistent “benefits,” and long hours their employers offer. This is particularly evident in the tourism and logistics sectors, such as hotel work and trucking, both of which report hiring difficulties and are not rebounding as fast as economists predicted. He writes: 

Read More »

USA: Kaiser’s Outrageous Two-Tier Wage Proposal May Provoke a Massive Strike

Jonah Furman & Sarah Hughes

Three women dressed in red hold hand-lettered signs: "Safe Staffing Saves Lives" and "Patients Over Profits"
Kaiser nurses and other health care workers rallied September 28 in Oregon on the eve of the Alliance contract expiration. Photo: OFNHP

At midnight on September 30, the national agreement expired between Kaiser Permanente and the Alliance of Healthcare Unions: 21 locals representing 52,000 workers. Now 35,000 of them have authorized strikes.

The heart of the conflict is a two-tier wage proposal, a rarity in health care. The company wants to create regional wage scales for everyone hired after 2022—meaning a giant cut in pay.

Kaiser isn’t hurting financially; last year it netted $6.4 billion, and it even returned $500 million in CARES Act funding to the federal government.

But the company claims the wage cuts are for you, the customer. According to management, wages are to blame for sky-high health care costs in the U.S.—and Kaiser employees with their hard-won union standards are the worst offenders.

Read More »
WORKERS STRIKE IN U.S. 

Massachusetts Nurses Face Down For-Profit Health Care Giant Tenet in Daring Strike

Sarah Hughes

Labour Notes | April 13, 2021

Two nurses hold a green St. Patrick's Day banner that reads "And the righteous did cast out the evil from the land." The banner pictures a group of nurses chasing off a snake labeled Tenet.
Nurses at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, have been on strike since March 8. Their number one issue: safe staffing ratios. The hospital is owned by the for-profit health care conglomerate Tenet, which made $400 million in profits in 2020. Photo: Massachusetts Nurses Association
On the same day that their employer announced it had made more than $400 million in profits during the Covid-19 pandemic, the nurses of St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, declared their intention to strike.

“St. V’s” is part of the Dallas-based Tenet Health—one of the largest and most profitable for-profit hospital corporations in the country. It is refusing to back down on the number one issue for nurses: safe staffing ratios.

As of this writing, close to 90 percent of the 800 nurses have been on strike since March 8.Read More »

WORKERS PROTEST

How a Janitors Union in San Francisco Got Over Its Fear and Struck

Luis Feliz Leon

Labor Notes | April 08, 2021

People in masks and purple SEIU 87 shirts picket in front of a bright window. Central person has a bullhorn. Others carry "ON STRIKE" signs and wear reflective vests.
Striking janitors picketed the huge Salesforce Tower and other office buildings, as tech workers begin to trickle back after months of remote work. Roughly 3,000 Bay Area janitors were laid off last year. They want everyone rehired, with improved ventilation and protective gear. Photo: SEIU Local 87
With their contract negotiations stalled, hundreds of San Francisco janitors represented by Service Employees (SEIU) Local 87 went on strike March 24.

Roughly 3,000 Bay Area janitors were laid off as the pandemic spread last year. Their union is now demanding a return to work for all laid-off workers—but with improvements.

They want better ventilation in buildings, protective gear for workers, a wage increase, health coverage, additional sick days, and protections against sexual harassment for a workforce that is largely immigrant women of color.Read More »