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Labor strike sees workers on strike for increased pay


From Hollywood, the airport, local schools

Over the past couple of years, numerous working groups have gone on strike for better wages. Be it airline pilots, health care workers, teachers and school staff, fast food workers–and of late the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in Hollywood–more blue collar employees are walking out to secure fair employment measures.

Some of these employees work in sub-par conditions that offer no overtime pay, minimal break time and lack of opportunities for advancement. Certain restrictions (such as no union organizing) have made it difficult to maneuver around the advocacy of workers' rights. Despite the challenges, quite a few companies have been instrumental in attempting to strike in opposition to unfair circumstances.

Most strikes have been brief and some have proven effective and instrumental in addressing concerns. Fast food workers, grocery store employees and nurses are some of the first people to go on strike between last year and this year.  With regards to the fast food workers issues, Assembly Bill 257–signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year–helps to provide protections  for employees and charges the Labor Commissioner with enforcement of state labor laws. Also, the bill allows for various members to show equal representation and create fairness with regard to minimum wage, working hours and health and safety issues.

At the supermarket, nearly 48,000 workers nationwide voted last year to strike (if necessary) to achieve higher wages from companies such as Kroger and Albertsons   Kroger is looking to invest 770 million in order to create learning opportunities, healthcare opportunities and improve hourly wages.

Southland nurses, most notably at Kaiser Permanente, went on strike recently to bring attention to understaffing, a lack of training resources and conflicts with individual hospital budgets.

Support staff–and later teachers–with the Los Angeles Unified School District engaged in separate work actions this year in a fight over increased pay, smaller classrooms, better resources and improved working conditions. These employees stressed that they were being “overworked, undervalued and disregarded” as the school district saw a record budget surplus.

In motion pictures and television, the WGA remains on strike–picketing daily at the major film and TV studios across the country–with the Screen Actors Guild recently joining them in solidarity. Meanwhile, motion picture and television producers remain in limbo as production has been effectively shut down because of the ongoing dispute over streaming royalties.

Finally, Southwest and American Airlines pilots will vote soon to authorize a strike in a demand for higher pay and better flight scheduling. FedEx pilots voted recently to call off a strike after 97% turnout of workers agreed that their demands had been met by management.