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Did You Know There’s Going to Be a General Strike in 2021?

workers union
happymay on Deposit Photos

Small corners of TikTok, Reddit and Twitter are abuzz with the idea of a general strike. An unknown person—or group of people—that doesn’t plan to reveal their identity launched a website and campaign for a general strike on Oct. 15, 2021. A general strike is pretty straightforward: It’s when a substantial proportion of a workforce stops working across multiple sites, and it usually involves entire communities. Strikes took place a lot during the early 1900s and are the basis for many of the labor laws we have today. So, what is the October strike attempting to achieve?

General Strike 2021: What do they want?

  1. 25% corporate tax rate (No loopholes)
  2. Free health care for all
  3. 12 weeks paid paternity and maternity leave
  4. $20 minimum wage
  5. 4 day work week
  6. Stricter environmental regulations on corporations (bans on single-use and microplastics, limited emissions)

The goals of the general strike aren’t surprising if you spend time on social media and listen to young people’s general sentiment on work. One reason we are experiencing worker shortages is that many young people are disillusioned. They believe big corporations are getting bigger while the little guy does most of the work nd reaps very few of the rewards. Jeff Bezos’s net worth grew by the billions during the pandemic while workers in factories told stories of alleged unsafe working conditions. 

Are these demands partisan?

One thing that can bridge the gap between parties is that these facts feel a little “off.” Of course, some points on the list are undeniable. Per the 2019 census, about 10% of the population lives at or below the poverty line. The federal minimum wage hasn’t gone up in over a decade while the cost of living has, and the U.S. is the only developed country without mandatory paid time off for maternity leave.  

On the other hand, goals such as universal health care and corporate tax hikes are more partisan. Will people participate in the strike if they only agree with some of the goals? 

Have work circumstances gotten better?

Thanks to the free market, companies have been raising wages of their own volition, and most businesses offer paid parental leave because they have to be competitive in the job market. Is competition enough, or do these things need to be regulated? Is a strike the answer to push policies forward?

Will the movement gain traction?

The October Strike movement hasn’t received much attention yet, but people online are trying to spread the word. We can only assume that with more attention comes more resistance. Can a movement like this be broad enough to attract people who don’t agree with all of the demands? Will the labor force show unity? This still remains to be seen.

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