The COVID-19 outbreak brought on days of reckoning for governments and private companies when it comes to workers’ rights.

The Trends Journal has documented strikes and unionization efforts from Amazon and Starbucks workers to House staffers on Capitol Hill. (See “TOP 2022 UNIONIZATION TREND UPDATE,” “UNIONIZATION,’ TOP TREND FOR 2022, ON-TREND,” “POLITICO JOURNALISTS FORM UNION. A TREND OF THE TIMES” and “REI: UNIONIZATION TREND EXPANDS AS FORECAST.”)  

The trend shows no signs of slowing as the world faces surging energy prices and soaring inflation. Strikes have impacted nearly every industry. 

Norwegian Oil and Gas announced Monday that about 13 percent of the country’s gas output could be impacted by a strike impacting workers on state-controlled platforms. There is a walkout that is planned for 5 July. The country will be forced to close six platforms. The strike will cut 89,000 barrels of oil each day and 27,500 boepd (Barrels of Oil Equivalent Per Day) of gas.

Last month, the Lederne union rejected collective pay agreements.

Also last month, barristers in England and Wales walked out of court to protest what they saw as a paltry 15 percent pay increase for taking on legal aid work, the BBC reported.

The report said two murder trials were delayed and the move is expected to add to the backlog of 58,000 cases.

Britain is also dealing with a rail-worker strike that resulted in the most widespread walkout on the railways in three decades last week, CNN reported. Additional strikes are planned. These workers, like those in other countries, are demanding better wages and working conditions. They have also expressed concerns about inflation.

Strikes and unionization efforts have been emerging across the globe and have seemed to pick up pace due to inflation and energy prices.

Cornell-ILR Labor Action Tracker, a labor database, said strikes have doubles across the U.S. in 2022 compared to 2021, according to Fast Company. 

Johnnie Kallas, a former labor organizer and the director of the ILR Labor Action Tracker, told the magazine that there have been 153 strikes in the U.S. that involved 73,500 workers between January and May. That number is a jump from the 78 strikes involving 22,500 workers between the same months in 2021.

Australia: Rail workers on the Sydney Metro are striking over safety concerns about trains built in South Korea that the union called unsafe, reported. The network reported that commuters in the city face wait times five times longer than usual for trains. Train service has been reduced up to 70 percent in some locations.

Teachers in New South Wales went on strike last week over “uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.”

“We asked the Premier [Dominic Perrottet] to reconsider his decision to cap the pay of teachers at three per cent when inflation is more than five per cent and rising. Yet, he did nothing.”

The strike included teachers from public and Catholic schools, reported. The report said about 20,000 teachers protested outside the state building in Sydney.

“COVID made me realize the lack of flexibility in the job,” one female teacher told the website. “I have friends who work in offices, they can work from home. We have been sent back and we are on a tight schedule every single day. I leave home at 7:30 a.m. in the morning. As soon as 9 o’clock hits, it’s go time, whether you’re ready or not and there is no stopping from there. I have meetings at lunch daily, it’s nonstop. I’m lucky to get to the toilet once in a day, very often I don’t eat lunch till after 2 p.m.”

Spain: reported that Spain’s Socialist Party (PSOE)-Podemos announced that striking workers from Ryanair must work a minimum amount, thus “making it illegal” for them to strike.

These workers are striking over pay and working conditions. The strike included crews from Spain, Portugal, and Belgium. The airline told Reuters that less than 2 percent of its 9,000 flights last weekend were affected “by minor and poorly supported crew strikes.”

The cabin crew from the airline announced last week that it plans to strike for 12 days in July.

India: Protests broke out across India last month after the country’s military announced an adjustment to its contracts.

The Guardian reported that service in the military meant career stability for many of the country’s poor and a job for life. But the country is now offering a four-year contract for those between 17 and 21. Once the contract expires, 25 percent will be offered the opportunity to stay on, and the rest will be able to take a one-time payment of about €12,000.

“What am I meant to do after four years? What good will the training I get as a soldier be to me as a civilian?” one young protester asked journalists, the report said.

Oregon: Nurses at a hospital in Oregon on Thursday announced a tentative deal after months of bargaining with Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

The report said the Oregon Nurses Association announced that it negotiated for a full day with executives from the hospital and claimed a “NURSE VICTORY.” 

Nurses and executives from the hospital have faced tough negotiations.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that the nurses said an earlier contract did not recognize their claims that they are overworked and underpaid. They also said that they pay too much out of their own pocket for their personal health insurance.

Jessica Lobell, a maternity nurse at St. Vincent and a member of ONA’s bargaining team, told the outlet that it is a “moral injury” when a nurse is doing the same job “as the person next to you” but the other person is making double the salary.

Peru: A freight trucker union in Peru has been striking in the country since Monday after demanding that the country lowers fuel prices and renegotiates contracts.

The National Union of Heavy Cargo Carriers told its drivers that they should refuse to transport goods to main cities during the strike, reported. The strike is not limited to truckers.

Ricardo Pareja, president of the Chamber of Urban Transport, said urban carriers “believe it is necessary to go on a strike because it is impossible to continue working with a fuel that has risen more than 80 percent in recent months.”

Peru Reports, citing local media, reported that there have been blockades on highways in Arequipa, San Martín, and Cajamarca. The report said Lima declared a state of emergency, but there have been no reports of significant violence or disturbances.

Atlantic City, N.J.: Local 54 of the Unite Here union, Atlantic City’s top casino workers union, announced a last-minute deal with four of the top casinos in the city after negotiations that threatened the Fourth of July Weekend. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the city’s top four casinos could lose a total of $2.6 million a day in revenue if the strike begins. The paper said the strike could be painful for casinos because it could impact the July Fourth weekend.

MGM Resorts’ Borgata, Caesars Entertainment’s Caesars, Harrah’s, and Tropicana, all reached agreements with their workers, Gambling News reported. The announcement of the deal sent MGM and Caesars’ stocks upward on the last day of trading before the long holiday weekend. 

Seattle: Starbucks workers said they will go on strike over the company’s treatment of workers at another location in the city, reported.

Seattle Starbucks Workers United said in a press release that the coffee chain aims to create a large location where customers can have “elevated experiences” and will merge three current locations. 

The workers were asked to reapply for the jobs. Out of more than 20, just one was offered a job at the new location, the report said. The others could be placed at other locations across the city “with no priority given to them,” the report said. Or they can quit.

“With less than a week’s notice, the workers at 1st and University, 1st and Pike, and the First Store at Pike Place Market, were expected to make time to interview for their own jobs, a task that is both insulting and impractical. More than twenty workers so far have been informed that they did not qualify for the jobs they have been doing, in some cases, for years.” the union said.

The workers at First and Pike had petitioned to hold union elections. Starbucks denied charges of union busting.

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