Writing in Daily Kos, Laura Clawson reports on strategies and tactics being used by unions and often by non-union low wage workers. Workers at Walmart and other large, low-wage corporations are fighting back. They are attacking, as one labor leader put it, by coming at employers “from every angle.”
Traditional unions are often hindered by NLRB rules. Those rules don’t apply to workers who are kept out of unions. While they have no protection from the government, non-union workers can be more creative in their quest for workplace justice and fair pay. Hopefully, as Clawson suggests, the labor movement in the U.S. will be reborn from the bottom up.
Common Dreams has reposted an article by Michelle Chen who compares the protest methods of food workers to those once used by the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.), direct action. While these workers lack the “protection” of a mainstream union, they can take action and change quickly to outmaneuver their corporate foes. Some of the protest methods have included education about sustainability and good eating habits.
Will we soon see a day when McDonald’s workers are unionized and well paid? Probably not. But the action these workers are taking will hopefully wake us some consumers and force them to understand they only cheat themselves by asking low wage workers to make cheap fast food. Some workers will hopefully improve their pay and how they are treated. However, until consumers wake up and support low wage workers, big corporations will do what they do best: Keep wages low.
Postscript: A report has come out that consumers have had a negative reaction to Papa John’s threat to cut workers’ health coverage. Maybe consumers are waking up.