Catching the strike bug

2007

Anyone who knows me knows how I don't like to be proven wrong, but I have to admit that I may be guilty as charged this time. See, I've always maintained that organized protests and strikes were considered bad by most Americans. As it turns out, perhaps I need to have a little more faith in my countrymen!

The threat of the strike has certainly been in the news as of late. In fact, you'd tend to think that we're in France these days! In recent months, we've gone from:

  • national – two autoworker unions going on strike to obtain a fair union deal, to
  • glitzy - the Writers Guild (the folks who write your sitcoms and Jay Leno among others) are now striking to protest what they perceive to be unfair wage payments, to
  • local – in suburban Chicago, teachers are prepared to put down the text books to force the school board into negotiating a better contract

What's been most surprising is the snowball affect the initial strikes have had on other industries. Perhaps it's purely coincidental, but I dare say that one group has inspired others to take action and demand improved workplace conditions for all.

In a recent local newscast, a completely unscientific poll was performed asking whether or not teachers were right to strike. Surprisingly, 75% of respondents supported the teachers.

While the results aren't necessarily trustworthy, what was interesting to note were comments left by those who were against the teachers. Respondents were not against the strike or necessarily against the teachers' requests, they had issues with the fact the negotiations were occurring during the school year and not during summer holidays.

Such messages should serve as a wake-up call to companies when negotiating contracts with employees over working conditions, including wages. It's becoming increasingly apparent that Americans are ready to ignore past prejudices against strikes and strikers if it means getting what they want.

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