Across the world and within the United States, workers—both in the public and private sectors—are demanding living wages, better working conditions, and above all, dignity. Here’s just a sample.
In , garment factory workers have been striking for nearly a week over the poor working conditions in their country, facing down rubber bullets, tear gas, and violent reprisals as they called for meaningful reforms of their industry. On Thursday, the government ordered paramilitary troops into the industrial areas to wrest control from workers and provide security to factories. As Bloomberg reports:
In , protests by public sector workers and anti-austerity campaigners have been running for years and nationwide strikes across multiple sectors that began last week continued into this as teachers, medical staff, and other civil servants again refused to back down after new cuts were announced by the government. As Reuters reports:
In the , the fast food workers strikes that have caught fire in city after city this summer have become the best example of low-wage workers fed up with poverty-level incomes, zero benefits, and poor conditions in an industry they say can easily afford to pay them more and treat them better.
From local channel King 5 News in , comes this report:
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In this week, local NBC affiliate WLWT TV reports:
city workers were out on the line this week, too, voicing their anger at Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his continued pritvatization of city services and cuts to pensions and public employee benefits. As the Chicago Tribune reports:
And at the federal level, U.S. government employees in , according to Demos’ Amy Traub, executed their fifth strike in as many months this week, delivering a petition with 250,000 signatures calling on the President Obama to take action and raise their paltry wages. According to Traub:
And how to we account for all this outrage and protest among workers.
According to Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the unrest ultimately rests on the cumulative effect of nearly forty years of policy decisions that have frustrated wages, disempowered workers, and given nearly all the gains of economic growth and technological advancements to the corporate and ruling classes. In an op-ed this week, Weisbrot argued:
As noted, the examples listed above are just a sample. And they weren’t hard to find. The question remains: When and where will workers win?
And in a new Guilded Age of corporate globalization and spiking inequality, when will the tide turn?
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