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Strike Summer

With more workers frustrated with their jobs, a growing inequality gap, and greedy bosses, it’s no surprise that new data shows in 2022, workers who went on strike increased by nearly 50%.

From Starbucks workers to Hollywood writers and actors to our own ATU members, workers are using their power to withhold their labor and walk off the job. In fact, over 650,000 U.S. workers could strike or are on strike this summer, including the United Auto Workers, and our own members who have joined this historic wave by authorizing strikes at Local 1756-Arcadia, CA, Local 569-Edmonton, AB and Local 1181-New York, NY.


Why So Many Workers Are Striking

Harry Holzer, professor of public policy at Georgetown, says that worker power depends on the strength of the economy. “It tends to be cyclical that in a stronger economy, workers are more willing to walk off the job,” he said. The theory is that workers have more bargaining power when employers need them more, making hiring replacements harder. Holzer also says the pandemic played a role in strikes. On top of burnout, workers, including our own members, were also underappreciated, leading many to rethink the role work plays in their lives.

The labor movement’s higher approval rating has also contributed to the rise in strikes. Public support for unions strengthens the confidence of workers to take the significant step to strike. With more than 70% of Americans approving of labor unions, more and more workers are feeling empowered to join unions and go on strike, especially among Gen Z. “So, what you see in the labor movement today is an influx of young workers, much more diversity. And this brings energy and enthusiasm,” said Paul Clark, a professor of labor and employment relations at Penn State.


It’s Getting Hot in Here

As temperatures rise, so does the energy of the labor movement. This summer, the ATU stands in solidarity with all workers who have bravely authorized strikes and those out on the picket lines in the heat, challenging corporate power. We will continue to use our collective voice to push back against anti-union tactics used to divide us.

Strike Summer is a transformative moment for our movement, demonstrating workers’ resilience in their pursuit of justice. Strikes are the symphony of the silenced and marginalized and the heartbeat of our collective strength. May this summer bring historic change for workers everywhere.