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Are more workers striking?

Question Everything: Are more workers striking?
Question Everything: Are more workers striking? 03:38

BOSTON - In an unprecedented move, President Biden joined United Auto Workers on the picket lines in Michigan Tuesday. On the same day, the Writers Guild learned of its potential deal that would end a months-long strike.

It certainly feels like strikes are growing and more workers are walking out on the job. WBZ-TV is questioning everything and wanted to know: are more people striking?

According to data collected by Cornell University's IRL Labor Action Tracker, strikes or work stoppages went up by 52% from 2021 to 2022.

Work stoppages strike
CBS Boston

Currently, the Screen Actors Guild is on strike, United Auto Workers are on strike, the Writers Guild is wrapping up a strike, and locally - Dana-Farber nurses in Methuen went on strike Wednesday.

WBZ asked experts Daron Acemoglu, an economist at MIT, Peter Perroni, a union attorney locally, and Max Page, the head of the Massachusetts Teachers' Association for their thoughts on why workers might be striking more. Here's the list they came up with:

Increased support for labor movements 

"They have a greater strength because of the relatively pro-worker, pro-union president in the White House and the labor market doing reasonably well, especially at the bottom so this is not a big surprise but it's an interesting time," Daron Acemoglu said. 

Fairness is top of mind, especially after the pandemic

"In 1965, the average CEO was making about 20 times the average worker," Peter Perroni explained. "Now that's close to 400 times. That's a huge difference. And again, it all gets exacerbated when you have the current conditions, and people see that, and so it's awful hard to find a definition of fairness, but people feel it and I really do think that's real, and that's driving a lot of a lot of the wish to organize and the wish to make sure that we're adequately compensating folks who are who are out working for a living." 

Technology and the increase in artificial intelligence

"What is technology going to do to 'unskilled workers?'" Perroni said. "And that's a question. And people are scared about it."

Unions seeing other unions succeeding in their strikes

"They're learning from one another and also from history, that when necessary, withholding one's labor has been the most effective way, and advancing workers' rights and winning a fair contract that's just proven over and over again in the past, and it's been proven that way in the current age," said Max Page of the Massachusetts Teachers Association. 

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