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In October, Trends Journal asked, "Where have all the workers gone?"; see "SPOTLIGHT: WORKERS ON DEMAND" (22 Oct 2021), which told of a labor market already at historically low levels and suffering from low participation, with record numbers quitting or retiring across all demographics. That article also, in its TREND FORECAST, predicted that labor unions, after a long period of decline in the U.S., would make a comeback.
Another Trends Journal article, "'THE GREAT RESIGNATION': WILL JOBS COME BACK?" (16 Nov 2021), quantified that phenomenon, pointing to the 4.43 million Americans who quit their jobs in September, the highest number since 2000, which brought this year's total to a record 34.5 million and the quit rate to a record high of 3 percent; also see "RECORD QUIT RATES: TAKE YOUR JOB AND SHOVE IT" (16 Nov 2021).
TRENDPOST: In the 1960s, a slogan (derived from a poem by Carl Sandburg and made popular by anti-war activists) asked, "What if they had a war and nobody came?" Now, in the 2020s, the question might be, "What if they had jobs available and nobody applied?"
Now even those employed are growing restive.
Workers at Amazon (which probably considers itself among the world's most enlightened employers) have formed a coalition calling itself "Make Amazon Pay," and chose Black Friday to stage a global protest demanding better wages, job security and working conditions; that last category includes demands for "suspension of harsh productivity [requirements?] and surveillance," as reported on 26 November by Yahoo! Finance.
The report also notes that, last month, workers in an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, NY, "filed for a union vote." This is indicative of a push for unionization across the Amazon workforce.
Elsewhere, already-unionized workforces are flexing their muscles. Workers at John Deere plants across the country walked out for the first time in 35 years, and some 1,400 Kellogg's workers staged a similar strike; see "DEERE EMPLOYEES GO ON STRIKE: MORE STRIKES TO COME" (19 Oct 2021).
The shortage of workers and the desire of employed workers to organize and go on strike share a common root cause: people are far less-inclined to perform menial, unfulfilling jobs for meager pay. (See “RECORD QUIT RATES: TAKE YOUR JOB AND SHOVE IT”)
This is at the root of low participation in the job market (which is gauged on the number of people employed or actively seeking work); when enough people are simply no longer motivated to seek work, the demand for workers exceeds the supply, and so those who are employed are emboldened to make their own demands, knowing that, if their demands aren't met, there are other jobs that desperately seek workers to fill them.
TREND FORECAST: Unionization will continue to be a top trend; the more limited the supply of workers (made worse by "No Jab, No Job" mandates; (see “WANT TO KEEP YOUR JOB? GET THE JAB!” and “NO JAB, NO JOB. VACCINE MANDATES ‘WORKING’”), the more powerful the trend toward unionization will be.
And, as inflation continues to rise faster than wages, corporations that wish to incentivize their workforce to do and give the best they can, will raise the pay scale to levels higher than inflation rates. In doing so, they will create atmosphere’s of mutual appreciation.
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