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Unions are boosting businesses due to a shortage of workers, from movie sets to manufacturing plants

As workers demand more from employers and businesses suffer from labor shortages and supply chain disruptions, union leaders are pressing to raise their ranks and secure the interests of their members. ..

Union officials said that some workers had been at the forefront of work through the Covid-19 pandemic, causing workers to prolong frustration for hours and be motivated by wage and health concerns. He said he was. This year’s employees are demanding higher wages, increased benefits, safer workplaces, and additional staffing.

“”“There is a new fighting power there. I think it’s a labor opportunity.”


— James P. Hofa, President of Team Stars

James P. Hofa, chairman of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Trade Union, which represents 1.4 million workers, from Detroit car workers to parcel delivery drivers, said: “I think it’s a labor opportunity.”

Many companies in recent months have responded to the tough labor market of low-wage workers, Have raised wages, Offer contract money and improve the benefits of staying competitive. Trade union critics have warned that suspensions and efforts to influence labor policy could push up consumer prices, slow production and hinder US economic recovery.

Kristen Swaringen, chairman of the Democratic Workplace Union, an organization of industry associations, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, said: The coalition said interruptions in work could cost jobs and hurt small businesses.

Earlier this month, the company announced its financial results, the chief executive officer of a major food company.

Konagra brand Ltd

Analysts asked about concerns about strikes.

“It’s a tough labor market and it takes a lot of ingenuity, creativity and effort to attract and retain employees,” said CEO Sean Connolly. Relationship with employees. … and I feel good about where I’m sitting now, but that’s undeniable. It’s a daily job. ”

Marcel Debruge, a corporate labor lawyer, said the company is dealing with growing employee dissatisfaction. But he feels that many companies are stepping up their efforts to respond, and workers may have other means, such as social media, to complain and secure profits. Employees feel that they may not rely on the union. “I don’t think a new day has begun for organized labor,” he said.

Union members, especially in the private sector, Has declined for decades.. Employment growth is slowing in industries that are usually more integrated than healthcare and other services, such as manufacturing, transportation, and utilities. Some manufacturers have set up new factories in southern states where unions are generally less common.

Union members made up 10.8% of the U.S. workforce last year, higher than 2019, but down from the earliest year in which the Ministry of Labor has comparable data, the peak of 20.1% in 1983. bottom.

Labor leaders said it was time to establish their position due to the shortage of workers, the pandemic struggle, and the president of professional workers in the White House. Rob Hill, vice president and organizational director of Service Employees International Union 32BJ, representing managers and airport workers, predicts that approximately 175,000 members will register twice as many new members as in 2020 this year. He said he was. It was about 4,000. Concerns about compensation, medical insurance and paid leave have increased workers’ interest in unions, he said.

The Teamsters union has responded to the unprecedented amount of demand to form unions in workplaces across the country, and Hoffa said he was organizing within Illinois cannabis pharmacies, food distribution warehouses and casinos in Las Vegas. Cited an initiative or first contract.

Jonas Loeb, communications director of the 150,000 International Alliance of Theatrical Film Theater, said the union is actively hiring workers for live events across the country. The surge in concerts and other events scheduled due to the relaxation of pandemic restrictions is putting a heavy burden on employees, Loeb said.

This weekend, the film and television industry barely avoided a post-stage workers’ union production outage. A tentative agreement has been reached It has a studio and streaming service that exceeds the demands of workers.

Not all workers’ efforts have been successful. In April, Amazon.com employees at Alabama Warehouse voted not to form a union, and another 2018 effort to organize workers at Amazon’s Whole Foods Market also failed.

Parent union workers at the Alabama warehouse this year said organizing could help boost wages and provide a more rational pace of work. Amazon has pushed back by promoting $ 15 an hour in wages and allowances, emphasizing the cost of paying dues. About 71% of warehouse workers The person who cast the ballot voted against the union. Quote worries Regarding employment security, the cost of paying membership fees, and concerns that unionization does not help much in improving wages and benefits.The union that leads the effort Ask for a second vote..

In August, a striker outside the Mondelez International facility in Portland, Oregon.


Photo:

Alex Milan Tracy / Sipa USA / Reuters

The union argues that if the current labor law is amended to more severely punish employers who illegally interfere with organizing efforts, the ranks of union members will rise. Republicans and corporate groups said such changes would limit workers’ ability to freely choose whether to join a union.

Some union officials and labor researchers said there was an emotional component of current union behavior. They said some workers were dissatisfied with the need to work longer hours over the pandemic and some companies benefited significantly from the economic recovery, leaving them unfair.

Workers’ desires, said Robert Bruno, a professor of labor relations at the University of Illinois, said last week’s strike against Deer came despite a contract proposal from an equipment company that included higher wages, bonuses and increased pension benefits. Dissatisfaction suggests that it is more than money.

“Workers are angry,” Bruno said.

Deer said she is working to resolve the concerns of workers on strike and aims to continue the business.

Michelle Buck, who worked throughout the pandemic at the pharmacy and often left her young autistic son at home, she said she was an inadequate proposal for wage increases and profits in contract negotiations by her employer. Said he promised to oppose what he was seeing.

“We were health care heroes just a few months ago,” said Buck. She said she would vote in favor when given the opportunity to vote to approve the strike later this month.

Write in Jesse Newman jesse.newman@wsj.com

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Unions are boosting businesses due to a shortage of workers, from movie sets to manufacturing plants

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