Workers strike across U.S.

Yahoo Finance's Dani Romero joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the latest as worker strikes increases across the U.S.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: Well, they are calling it Striketober. Kellogg, John Deere, even nurses among the tens of thousands on strike or set to strike in the next couple of days in a push for better pay and improved working conditions. Of course, we've seen a few of those maybe result in better pay. And for more on all of the strikes and the increases we're seeing there, I want to bring on Yahoo Finance's Dani Romero, who has the details for us. And Dani, I mean, when we look at it, 10,000 John Deere workers alone going on strike. What are we seeing?

DANI ROMERO: Yeah, well, after 19 months, these workers that have been on the front lines, they say that they've had enough. You know, they want higher pay, they want better benefits. They also want meal breaks, as well as shorter shifts. And this so-called wave of strikes that we're seeing is coming from health care, as well as we almost saw it in Hollywood, even though that was averted because they reached an agreement between the studios and the union.

But it still signals this momentum that it's been coming for a long time. And nearly 100,000 US workers are planning to strike or will go on strike to improve working conditions. And the big one we're going to see is that 35,000 nurses from-- members from the nursing unit here in California are planning to go on strike. About 96% of them voted in favor.

They also have issue-- they also need to issue, excuse me, a 10-day warning they're striking against the two-tier pay system, which they say would lower pay of entry level nurses, midwives, pharmacists, down by 26% to 39%. They say after the pandemic, that is really unfair to them. And according to new data from the Cornell Labor Action Tracker, it shows that more than 180 strikes have been documented just this year. And that involves 24,000 workers.

And I did speak to the PhD student who is tracking these labor actions, and he said that 39 strikes have been recorded just in this month in October. That is the largest they've seen among the year. And however, the Department of Labor, though, has documented only 12 strikes. And they only record those that involve 1,000 workers or more. So these sheer numbers are a little bit confusing. But this all comes against when, you know, 4.3 million workers have walked off the job in August, which is the biggest number since 2000.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, I think a lot of people are feeling maybe how much leverage they have, as they see more people leave. When we talk about the expectations or perhaps maybe the way that unions are looked at now, given the way that they have gotten maybe not what everyone wanted, right, in the labor groups they're representing, but had gotten increases, and you talk about some of those strikes that were avoided, I mean, what have you seen there in terms of the way that people are looking at unions now in the wake of some of these wins?

DANI ROMERO: Yeah, I think that's a really good question. You know, one of the professors I spoke with say that strikes are a little bit contagious. But this activism actually comes at a time when people are in favor of labor unions. It's only trending upwards from here. And so low unemployment rate also gives that leverage to these workers that have been essential throughout the pandemic.

A September Gallup poll shows that Americans approve of unions, which has hit its highest record since 1965. So 68% of Americans approve of a labor union. So while we've seen some of these strikes avert, as well as be resolved, some are only ramping up from here, which could leave some potential impacts to the consumer. Now it's still unclear when the consumer would actually really see those impacts, but some say it could really leave a mark.

ZACK GUZMAN: All right, Dani Romero bringing us the latest there on the labor front, as strikes have become ever more popular. And we'll see what happens moving forward. Appreciate it.

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