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World & Current Events > Labor strike: effective tool or annoying and delegitimized?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15382 comments Probably some of you encountered these instances, when you need to take a flight, but it's cancelled because of a strike in departure or arrival destination, the school doesn't work because teachers are on strike, trains don't work, or whatever.

Uncomfortable, annoying, but maybe on the other hand, who's gonna care for the employees if not they for themselves? What do you think?


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11233 comments If you believe in the free market, you must believe in the rights of labour to organise and strike. If the employer has the right to offer the dead minimum he thinks he can get away with, the workers must have the right to say, no - pay us more or we withdraw our labour.


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15382 comments What do you think about strikes? And how often, if at all, do they happen in your country?


message 4: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 0 comments Strikes are annoying but sometimes necessary. Given the behaviour of some governments as the employer and private sector employers what else should workers do? The annoying part is when the strike impacts everyone but the actual employer e.g. train strikes in UK upsetting commuting public but employers not impacted . Strikes for political motives are also sometimes hard to justify


message 5: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11233 comments Strikes are fairly rare here, and usually only, as Philip says, hurting just about everyone else. However, here strikes are illegal unless due warning has been given (something like two weeks) which gives everyone innocent time to prepare, and gives time for last ditch negotiations.


message 6: by Graeme (last edited Apr 29, 2020 02:12PM) (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Ian wrote: "If you believe in the free market, you must believe in the rights of labour to organise and strike. If the employer has the right to offer the dead minimum he thinks he can get away with, the worke..."


I agree with Ian.

I'd add, it's a very dangerous and oppressive world if labor can't organise to withdraw their labor.


message 7: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5976 comments Reagan put a halt to strikes when he put airline workers out of jobs. Since then, we haven't heard too much about unions, although some teachers in the North have them, as well as railroad workers, teamsters, and SAG/AFTRA for film workers. I can't remember the last time I heard about a strike in this part of the country. When I was a teacher, I thought that teacher strikes were wrong and hurt people who had nothing to do with their employment. We do have professional organizations for teachers that have strong negotiating power because they influence elections.


message 8: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3492 comments There is more to the story about Reagan and the strike. Federal Government workers are not allowed to strike by law and they did. The union was given more than one chance to return and did not. The workers were fired and the union decertified. It was certainly a hot point and probably one of the biggest moments in labor history of the twentieth century. Yet, at the same time they were in violation of the law. That was why they were fired, for breaking the law. the negotiations were tough and the union never thought Reagan would call their bluff. They shot themselves in the foot.


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15382 comments Papaphilly wrote: "There is more to the story about Reagan and the strike. Federal Government workers are not allowed to strike by law and they did. The union was given more than one chance to return and did not. The..."

For a second there I had an impression the strikes were outlawed somehow, but I see that it relates to certain categories and differs by states, if to believe wikipedia on this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strike_...


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11233 comments The right to strike is an interesting question. It seems only reasonable that critical employees should not have that right. Examples are the police, and I would add things like electricity line workers, because people such as those using kidney dialysis, say, could die if electricity fails. On the other hand, if they cannot strike and they cannot leave their jobs, they have the potential to be exploited. This would seem to be something where the the direct employer should be forced into some form of arbitration with an external body ruling because the workers have to have some means of recovering from exploitation.


message 11: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15382 comments Ian wrote: "The right to strike is an interesting question. It seems only reasonable that critical employees should not have that right. Examples are the police, and I would add things like electricity line wo..."

I think so too and I guess it's one of the tools that contributed into shaping the modern labor relations to distance them from slavery.
Amusing how often it's used in traditionally capitalist (or maybe not anymore?) France or Italy, and how strikes almost disappeared from the former land of the proletariat. Speaking of which, Happy Labor Day (non-American version)


message 12: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 11233 comments Thanks, Nik -and happy Labor day to you. Not so applicable here - ours is the third Monday of October, so the wish is a little premature :-)

An interesting thing about strikes is that our required notification and eventually, if everyone is being held hostage, independent arbitration is required, has made strikes very unusual here. When I was somewhat younger, strikes on the Cook Strait ferries (the only way to get things like cars between the two main Islands) were common around the start of school holidays. Those who suffered, of course, were those who had absolutely nothing to do with it. Fortunately, that behaviour can't work now.


message 13: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3492 comments Ian wrote: "Thanks, Nik -and happy Labor day to you. Not so applicable here - ours is the third Monday of October, so the wish is a little premature :-)

An interesting thing about strikes is that our required..."


Generally, strikes must be called for and that gives notice. It is a game. I do not think they work over the long haul, but it is really the only way to capture notice of the company. when I was with the teamsters, we had a work slow down to prove a point. It lasted exactly 2 hours and the management stopped what they were doing to the guys.


message 14: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1795 comments What do you do when you have negotiated and then the employer does not follow through? That is why Arizona teachers went on strike (I think it was 2 years ago). The State of Arizona did not follow through on its agreements. Eventually the employees have little choice. Be a doormat or do something.

Interestingly, the complaints by local parents was to complain that the teachers chose to do it near the end of the school year because that affected their kids' college entries, summer plans, military families who were on orders to elsewhere (we are a military town). They felt the teachers should have picked a more convenient time. If it were done at the convenience of society then once again they would have been ignored.

I live in an area that has a mining history. There is a documentary on Prime called the Bisbee 19. It continues to amaze me how common place it has been in American history, be it West Virginia or Arizona (or many other states), for the government to send in troops to stop labor and unions. It has consistently been legalized for mining companies to hire private parties to "enforce" workers and prevent unionization.

I live in a right to work state. Employees have very few rights. Unfortunately, unions can also be more political than looking to the needs of its members. Without the organization of a large class of employees, there is no means to negotiate for reasonable packages. I think some of the issues that unions are utilized for could be resolved if - 1) America had healthcare for everyone and 2) some means for all workers to have a compensation package that includes being able to have a reasonable amount to live on upon retirement. Social security isn't enough.

A side note --- My daughter is a teacher. She refused to stay in AZ because of how poorly we treat our teachers and the payscale being so low. In WI, yes, like all teachers, she has provided for her own supplies, works on stuff from home because the work day doesn't allow enough time for teachers to prepare lessons, etc. She is a union member and she has healthcare and retirement plan negotiated by the union. She finished her Masters Degree in Education and Technology this month at John Hopkins (she got a full ride based on her efforts and application). Her BA included grants for which she in turn has agreed to work in impoverished areas for 5 years. She teaches high school sciences at a school that is 407 out of 421 in Milwaukee for at-risk students. It scares me the stories she tells me about the violence, including one of her students being shot.


message 15: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 15382 comments Lizzie wrote: "...the government to send in troops to stop labor and unions"

Sounds oppressive in this respect

Lizzie wrote: "...Her BA included grants for which she in turn has agreed to work in impoverished areas for 5 years..."

Hmm, interesting. Sounds exactly like Soviet system - free education for which one needed to work first two years after graduation at a location determined by the government (the best students were exempted though and could have chosen where to proceed)


message 16: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1795 comments She gets to choose where she works. This is the 3rd school in 5 years. Finding schools that fit the criteria is about 80% of the schools. A sad comment on American public education.


message 17: by Papaphilly (new)

Papaphilly | 3492 comments Lizzie wrote: "They felt the teachers should have picked a more convenient time. ..."

Interesting word, convenient. Convenient for whom? Maybe inconvenience is the entire point.


message 18: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1795 comments Papaphilly wrote: "Lizzie wrote: "They felt the teachers should have picked a more convenient time. ..."

Interesting word, convenient. Convenient for whom? Maybe inconvenience is the entire point."


Exactly, but our citizens posting did not get the point, because it's a "me" country.


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