The sun sets earlier, the Big pumpkin will get up any minute, and thousands of workers are go to the picket lines, prompting the media and union organizers to claim that Striketober has suddenly arrived.
The cause of some of these walkouts can be directly attributed to the changes brought on by the pandemic, but many of them have their roots in issues that have catalyzed strikes for generations. Let’s take a closer look.
Striketober? More like Strike-Uptick-tober
More than 10,000 John Deere employees went on strike October 14, when about 1,400 Kelloggs workers quit work October 5. And 60,000 film crew workers were on the verge of strike action, until a last-minute deal avoided a stop earlier this month.
But Wayne State University management professor Marick Masters told HR Brew that despite the media spotlight, Striketober isn’t really historic, at least in terms of size.
We see a lot of media coverage of strikes, and they call it Striketober because people think there is this plethora of strikes threatening to cripple the economy, Masters said. In fact, he insisted, the number of workers hoisting picket signs is tiny compared to even recent pre-pandemic years.
Always, monitoring union action from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, which corresponds all strike or demonstration in the United States involving two or more workers, has counted 178 strikes so far this year, Bloomberg Reports.
We have seen an increase in strikes in September and October, even compared to previous months in 2021, Johnnie Kallas, director of Labor Action Trackers, told Bloomberg.
Work stoppages occur amid a widespread labor shortage and a drastic shift in American attitudes toward work, such as a record number of employees are leaving their jobs.
People may be more inclined to strike in a labor market where there are labor shortages, which is what we see now, when there are concerns about economic inequality, Masters told HR Brew.
HR professionals are involved, especially when it comes to ensuring compliance with labor law (more about it here) and help facilitate resolutions.
Procedurally, HR professionals need to understand that you want to make sure you don’t cross the border and threaten people and try to keep those relationships with strikers as positive as possible, Masters said. You have to get people back to work and you don’t want a lot of bitterness to linger.
It is also important to remember that employees have the legal right to engage in other concerted activities for the purposes of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, as explained in Article 7 of the national law on industrial relations.
Masters also noted that although companies have the right to temporarily and permanently replace workers during a strike, this does not always lead to positive results, both in terms of public opinion and the quality of the work.SB
Do you work in HR or do you have information about your HR department that we should know about? Contact Sam Blum via Signal and Telegram encrypted messaging apps (@SamBlum_Brew) or simply email [email protected].
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