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Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Why have there been so many strikes lately?

Former+Lincoln+teacher%2C+Ted+Dreier%2C+stands+in+solidarity+with+the+United+Auto+Workers+%28UAW%29+strike.
Cole Tomlinson
Former Lincoln teacher, Ted Dreier, stands in solidarity with the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike.

This fall as underpaid media workers across the country in the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike find a resolution and the United Auto Workers (UAW) continue with their strike on October 19 Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) voted to authorize a strike that could begin November 1.

Chrysler auto worker in Beaverton, Geoffrey Barnes, said the efficacy of a strike relies on a union to represent the ideals of the workers, and unions give voices to people who would otherwise not be heard.

“Somebody who has a union, but [by themselves], can’t fight for health care, living wage, and cost-of-living will […] still have a voice [due to the union],” said Barnes.

With so many strikes happening at the same time, it begs the question, why?

According to Barnes, auto workers today struggle to secure a stable source of retirement income because companies are shifting away from pensions, which guarantee pay into retirement, instead shifting towards 401K accounts, a less stable alternative.

“We had somebody come speak to us the other day, who had a father who worked 30 years and retired with a pension. He’s 93 years old and he’s still collecting money, […] we want to bring those kinds of jobs back,” said Barnes.

In addition to retirement, another issue both private and public sector workers are arguing for is pay. Lincoln social studies teacher, Patrick Magee-Jenks, is concerned about this issue.

“Some of the things that private sector unions have in common that’s different from the public sector is that basically since the 1980s we’ve seen the share of corporate profits growing while wages have pretty much stagnated, and the cost of living has climbed as well,” said Magee-Jenks.

Magee-Jenks said that, in the past, union strikes have been effective in aiding the demands of workers.

“The fact that we have a weekend [and] a 40 hour work week is due to the labor movement,” said Magee-Jenks.

According to the PAT website, the strike looks to address issues such as class size, planning time, services for students, building maintenance and salaries.

According to the Portland Public Schools (PPS) website, the district offered Portland teachers a “4% cost-of-living increase in the first year of their contract, followed by 3% increases in the second and third years,” an offer which the PAT turned down; they are asking for salaries that match the current cost of living according to the PAT website.

A written statement from Lincoln teacher and PAT Executive Board Liaison, Chris Buehler, expresses the importance of striking for fair pay, a goal that both teachers and UAW workers share.

“Strikes are happening all over the country because workers know best what they need to improve their workplaces and they are often ignored by those who have the power to make change,” said Buehler. “Democracy is not only essential for a functioning society politically; it’s an essential part of the workplace too– whether that’s at an automobile factory […] or a public school.”

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Cole Tomlinson, Sports Media Editor
Cole is a senior this year. He is excited for the team camaraderie and being a senior. His favorite part of working on newspaper is discussing new article ideas in class meetings. Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.
Millie Leonel, Photo Editor-In-Training
Millie is a sophomore this year. She is excited to learn how to be photo editor, and enjoys writing food and movie reviews.
Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.
Oliver Trummer, Reporter
Oliver is a senior this year. He is excited to work with his friends on articles, and likes interviewing people and getting their perspectives on issues.
Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.

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