(Reuters) – A tight U.S. labor market, expiration of cyclical contracts and high living costs have triggered tough negotiations for pay hikes and other benefits by workers and strikes and protests across industries.
Some 295,500 workers have been involved in stoppages through July this year, as per preliminary U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, putting 2023 on track to become the busiest year for strikes since 2019.
Some sectors and companies that faced tough negotiations in 2023:
Hollywood writers have been on strike since May 2 over compensation, staffing and residual payments among other issues. They were later joined by members of the Screen Actors Guild.
Teamsters union workers at United Parcel Service ratified a new five-year contract in August, a deal that raises pay, eliminates a two-tier wage system for drivers, provides another paid holiday and ends forced overtime.
FedEx pilots have been involved in a stand-off with the parcel delivery firm over wages and legacy pensions. Pilots rejected a tentative deal in July and negotiations are expected to restart.
AIRLINES & AEROSPACE FIRMS
Pilots at several airlines including American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines Holdings, Spirit Airlines, Jetblue Airways negotiated new job contracts this year.
Members of some unions like the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association have voted to authorize a strike if a new contract is not reached.
Spirit AeroSystems negotiated a new contract to end a strike that led to a week-long work stoppage at its plant in Wichita, Kansas.
United Auto Workers (UAW) union on Aug. 25 said members voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike at the Detroit Three automakers if an agreement over wages and pension plans is not reached before the current four-year contract expires on Sept. 14.
U.S. steel producer Cleveland-Cliffs Inc has reached a tentative agreement with the United Steelworkers (USW) union on a new three-year labor agreement for its Northshore mining operations.
U.S. Steel, which is reviewing multiple proposals ranging from partial acquisition to an entire buyout, is embroiled in a tussle with the United Steel Workers union. The company’s unionized workers say they essentially have the power to veto any transaction they do not approve of.
CONSUMER & RETAIL
More than 3,000 workers at more than 150 Starbucks stores in the U.S. held strikes in June, following claims the company had banned Pride Month decorations at some of its cafes.
Thousands of Los Angeles-area hotel staffers went on a three-day strike in July over improved wages, benefits and working conditions. Union leaders representing the workers have threatened further walkouts.
More than 7000 nurses went on a three-day strike in New York City over staffing levels and pay hikes in January.
Unions representing cannabis workers have also increased pressure on companies in the sector this year.
Workers at Green Thumb Industries’ Chicago-area RISE dispensaries went on a 13-day unfair labor practices (ULP) strike in April, which was the longest ULP strike at a cannabis retailer in U.S. history.
Labor unions secured new contract agreements at multistate operator-owned cannabis dispensaries in Illinois and in New Jersey in July.
(Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)