On August 22, 2023, at National Unity Day in New York City, members of SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America East, who work in the HBO/Amazon headquarters, held a protest outside their workplaces to make their views heard. This year, labor unions have won several big successes. However, the future of organized labor remains questionable.

One thing is certain on Labor Day: organized labor is making progress.

Unions have already won big victories this year, including one at UPS, and they are looking for more. Writers and performers in Hollywood are currently on strike, and the United Auto Workers Union is hard at work in contract negotiations with the Big Three automobile manufacturers.

And now, organized labor feels as if a favorable wind is blowing in their favor.” Workers now have more bargaining power in a competitive employment market. Public opinion polls show that labor unions have tremendous support, and the Biden administration is likewise on their side.”

While this has a lot of potential, it also has a lot of obstacles. Several employers are opposing the efforts to gain clearance, and there is still a lot of uncertainty about the financial element.

Here are five things to know about the state of the labor market on Labor Day.

1.Unions are demonstrating their power.

If not now, when?

This is the prevalent thinking in unions. During the pandemic, companies made enormous profits, while employers are struggling to find enough workers in a competitive employment market.

Unions currently have substantial popular backing, at the very least. According to the Auto Workers Gallup Polls, 75% of respondents support unions in contract discussions with major vehicle manufacturers.

Right now, even in the White House, there is a pro-union administration. Last week, Vice President Kamala Harris expressed her support for organized labor, saying that unions “strengthen our middle class and our entire economy.

Getty Images via Timothy A. Claire/AFPE,
According to a Treasury Department report released last week, employees who belong to a union earn 10-15% more than those who do not belong to a union. They also have superior benefits, and there is a substantial reduction in gender and salary discrepancies across different racial and ethnic groups in unionized firms.

And organized labor has just won some significant successes.

American Airlines’ unionized pilots have received a wage boost of more than 40% under their new contract, while UPS drivers have obtained the’most attractive deal’ in the Teamsters Union Delivery Company’s history.

In an interview with NPR, Assistant Labor Secretary Julie Su stated, “We have seen instances where employers come to the table, sit down, negotiate, and reach outcomes.”I believe this is fueling what is known as hot labor”.

2. Nonetheless, there is uncertainty ahead.

A healthy employment market is the best thing for employees, but how long it can remain is debatable.

For the first time in decades, the unemployment rate has been continuously below 4% for the past 19 months. It is increasing labor rivalry, particularly for individuals at the bottom of the income scale.

However, job creation is slowing, with companies adding 187,000 jobs in August, compared to an average of 312,000 in the first three months of the year.

The Federal Reserve has been aggressively raising interest rates to battle inflation since last year, and the impact of those higher borrowing costs is still hitting the broader economy.

3.Unification initiatives have not always been successful.

Unionization efforts have grown, although the outcomes have been uneven.

Workers filed applications for more than 2,500 union elections last year, the most in seven years, according to the National Labor Relations Board.

However, less than half of these elections were won by unions, and even fewer resulted in the signing of collective bargaining agreements.

Starbucks has also faced a difficult battle in preventing its employees from joining a union. Baristas were fired, and businesses were closed. Federal labor officials have consistently accused Starbucks, but the corporation has maintained its innocence.

While it may appear criminal for a firm to oppose unionization, the fines are frequently ineffectual as deterrents.

There are limits to how much assistance the White House can provide. The administration, for example, has taken initiatives to increase union engagement in public construction projects. However, unions’ primary aim – enacting the PRO Act, which would make it simpler for private-sector workers to organize and more difficult for corporations to oppose – has not made much progress.

4.There will be major debates in the near future.

This is a “labor heatwave,” and more serious battles will be fought in the approaching autumn.

Hollywood writers have been on strike for over 100 days, demanding higher compensation and job security, outlasting previous writers’ strike in 2007.

And the contracts with the UAW for Ford, Stellantis, and General Motors are slated to expire in mid-September. The automakers’ union is pressing for significant wage and benefit hikes, and they are prepared to strike if they do not get what they want.

These two contests are gaining popularity because of what they represent: the struggle for job stability in changing times.

Movie extras are concerned that they will be replaced by artificial intelligence. Hollywood is already scanning bodies for technological improvements.

With the increasing popularity of streaming services, Hollywood is undergoing substantial shifts, while automakers in Detroit are investing billions on electric automobiles, which normally require fewer workers to build.

This causes concern on both sides. Workers in both fields want to figure out how to deal with these changes, while worried employers want to keep as much flexibility as possible.

As a result, while Labor Day represents a significant victory for unions this year, there are still many battles ahead.

5.Biden applauded unions and job development on Labor Day in Philadelphia.

President Joe Biden has declared that he does not expect the auto workers’ union would strike. He also said that they are celebrating union jobs during the Labor Day march in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia, PA – President Joe Biden, who frequently claims to be the most pro-union president in history, emphasized the importance of organized labor on Labor Day in Philadelphia on Monday and hailed American workers for their economic contributions.

The democratic President discussed how the economy is recuperating from the feared coronavirus pandemic, as well as what his administration has done to strengthen basic infrastructure. He also emphasized the necessity of unions in the development of the middle class.

As the Republican primary season heats up, Biden is attempting to reestablish himself among working-class voters who defected from the Democratic Party, and has intensified his focus on cultural concerns, separating himself from former President Donald Trump and others. He foreshadowed that argument on Monday in Philadelphia, frequently referring to Trump as the “last guy” and compared Trump’s job creation record to that of President Herbert Hoover, who led the country through the Great Depression. A favorable comparison for Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Even Vice President Joe Biden addressed the throng, saying, ‘On this Labor Day, we are honoring jobs, good-paying jobs, the kind of employment where you can support your family, union jobs.’ Instead of standing on the stage, the President went around with the microphone in his hand, reading the ‘Union Strong’ cues behind the stage.

In reference to Trump, the leading Republican candidate in recent elections, Biden stated, “When he was elected to office, he left the office with fewer jobs in America than when he started.”

“Biden spoke with union members from steelworkers to stage employees, focusing on the impact of their administration’s policies on working people.”

“Biden also spoke to the crowd, saying, ‘On this Labor Day, we are celebrating jobs, good-paying jobs, the kind of jobs where you can support your family, union jobs.'” Instead of standing on the podium, the President held the microphone in his hand and read the ‘Union Strong’ prompts here and there.”

“International Workers’ Day, a labor-day holiday, arrives this year against a backdrop of growing courage from various American unions and the potential strike of 146,000 United Auto Workers Union members.” It is a day to highlight the combined strength of labor unions in pushing for their members’ rights and to appreciate the industrious individuals who contribute to the workforce.”

When asked if a strike was feasible, the President stated that he did not believe it would occur. In response, UNW Chairman Shawn Fenn voiced his surprise at the President’s statements, saying he was “astonished” and implying that the President “know something that we don’t know.”

“I think we need to decide on a long-term plan right now,” the fan stated. “By September 14th, all three of them must reach an agreement.” For all three, this is a deadline. And if they don’t, there will be repercussions.”

“The union’s priority is wage increases, a shorter workweek, and the restoration of traditional pensions.” According to Fenn, General Motors and Stellantis have yet to respond to the union’s financial proposals, while Ford’s offer falls far short of the union’s requests. The union has accused GM and Stellantis of abusive labor tactics during discussions, which the firms have rejected. Fenn stated, “The union’s intention is not to strike, but rather to reach a fair and impartial agreement.”

Labor Day arrives when America has produced more jobs and more people have launched their job search – the highest since January. This is the news that President Biden is ecstatic about, as he plans to run for re-election in 2024.

Biden still needs to convince voters that his initiatives are improving their lives. According to the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research’s August poll, only 36% of American adults approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, which is somewhat lower than the 42% who favor of his overall performance.

Joe Biden delivered his Labor Day speech just a few days after it was revealed that American employers added 187,000 jobs in August, despite the slow but still resilient labor market and the Federal Reserve’s high interest rates.

According to the Labor Department’s report on Friday, the unemployment rate has risen from 3.5% to 3.8%, the highest level since February 2022, albeit it remains below than historical standards. However, this rate has grown for a positive reason: 736,000 people started looking for work in the last month, the most since January, but not all of them found work right away. Only those actively looking for work are counted as unemployed.

The President frequently emphasizes the importance of middle-class employees in the economy, claiming that when the middle class prospers, “everyone prospers.

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