Labor Flexes Its Muscle as Leverage Tips from Employers to Workers

And many of them are either hitting the picket lines or quitting their jobs as a result.

The changing dynamics of the US labor market, which has put employees rather than employers in the driver's seat in a way not seen for decades, is allowing unions to flex their muscle.

Already on strike are 10,000 workers at John Deere (DE), who hit the picket lines early Thursday after rejecting a tentative deal which would have improved wages and benefits. They joined 1,400 strikers at Kellogg (K) who are upset with seven-day work weeks and a two-tier retirement system. Other unions are preparing for walkouts of their own.

The overwhelming majority of strikers and potential strikers are doing so for the first time in their careers. Many say they are driven not just by wages or benefits. They say they are striking, or planning to strike, in a bid to do their jobs the way they believe they should be done, and to gain basic improvements in the quality of their lives, such as time with their families, which they say they deserve.
One of the main issues running through many of these strikes, or looming strikes, is workers' anger.

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