What’s Up With All the Labor Strikes? – The American Spectator

The American summer of strikes is slowly growing to include the fall. On Wednesday morning, 75,000 nurses, medical technicians, and other health care workers employed by Kaiser Permanente went to picket lines instead of to work in hospitals and at health clinics in the largest health care strike in U.S. history.

While Kaiser officials have promised that hospitals and emergency rooms will remain open and most doctors and registered nurses are still at work, it’s likely that the strike will delay elective procedures and care in five states and Washington, D.C. But the strike is even more significant considering that the health care workers are joining the ranks of just under half a million Americans who have gone on strike so far this year.

While that number is hardly historic if you compare it to strikes between World War II and the 1980s, it’s nonetheless unusual given the slow decline in union participation. If you ask establishment media what is going on, it tends to mumble something about low employment, gay rights, and COVID-19. (READ MORE: Bidenomics’ Not-So-Invisible Hand of Government Destroys the Economy)

“Essential workers,” the TV pundits say, are tired and angry after their employers and society failed to recognize their sacrifices during the pandemic, never mind the fact that most of the laborers on strike — auto workers, actors, and screenwriters — were not considered essential.

The real reason is something establishment media doesn’t like to talk about, namely, the failure of President Joe Biden’s economic policies and the impact steadily rising inflation has had on American households.

Strikers Want a ‘Living Wage’

As far as strikes go, these ones seem nothing extraordinarily special: Workers want better pay, more benefits, and fewer working hours. Take the health care workers that walked out this morning; they reportedly feel squeezed by staffing shortages — something Kaiser officials have already promised to fix — and they want a 6.5 percent raise over the next two years and a 5.75 percent raise over the following two years.

Arguably, the health care workers have far more reasonable demands than the United Auto Workers union. Most doctors and registered nurses won’t be joining the picket lines, hospitals and emergency rooms will remain open, and the strike is only supposed to last three days at the longest (one day in Virginia and Washington, D.C.). (READ MORE: Are Ordinary Americans Buying ‘Bidenomics’?)

The United Auto Workers have lowered their demands to a 36 percent wage increase (it was originally 40) and have demanded that Ford, Stellantis, and GM promise to adjust wages to keep up with inflation as well as end the tiered system that keeps workers hired before 2007 paid at a better rate. They also want a 32-hour workweek — although they still want to be paid as though they are working 40 hours, according to the Washington Post.

If you ask Obama-era U.S. Labor Secretary Seth Harris, the root of the problem is that “essential workers” felt underappreciated, their bosses were making crazy profits, and the economy had plenty of temporary positions available for striking workers — not to mention that Biden is “very pro-union.”

That’s over-complicating the issue. The specific demands of the unions may be different, but the same general principles tend to prevail: Employees feel underpaid and overworked. They keep saying they want a “living wage.”

The problem is that inflation is so bad that, if you adjust for inflation, autoworkers are making 19.3 percent less per hour than they were in 2008 — and 2008 wasn’t a great year. On a more general level, according to a fact check from the House Budget Committee, real wages are down 5 percent on average since Biden took office, and prices are up 15.5 percent — which, for a family of four, means they are spending $13,717 more per year to purchase the same things they did in January 2021. (READ MORE: MAGAnomics Trumps Bidenomics: Americans Were Better Off Four Years Ago)

A hearing held on Sept. 20, 2023, by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability found that government spending funding liberal agendas was primarily responsible for inflation and the rising poverty threshold among Americans.

Unfortunately for Biden and his administration, constantly repeating that inflation isn’t a problem doesn’t make it disappear — the economy won’t conform to the lie.

Read More: What’s Up With All the Labor Strikes? – The American Spectator