Ever since the dawn of modern labor, there have been labor struggles. Take, for example, the wage cut protests of female mill workers in 1834, the 1877 uprising of Irish-American coal miners that resulted in 19 hangings, or the many workplace accidents that led up to the 1970 development of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
This has led to a powerful tradition in the US to fight for the wellbeing of the working class; and even though these goals have been difficult to achieve, the struggle has not stopped.
It was in this spirit that our past collaboration with Jobs with Justice yielded the creation of STRIKE! The Game of Worker Rebellion. This game allows players to build their own labor movement, placing them as workers looking to stop a mega-corporation from taking over their city. (According to the website The Fandomentals, STRIKE! is “a great game to learn about labor rights that doesn’t sacrifice the fun factor.”)
And right now, so many people and communities are facing unimaginable and unprecedented uncertainty due to the pandemic. However, the ramifications of these hardships mostly fall on small businesses and the working class. While small businesses and individual working people suffer, many corporations have greatly increased their wealth during the pandemic. So in the face of this, American workers are finding new ways to organize and build power together, just as they have for hundreds of years.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at five recent labor struggles we should all know about – some during the pandemic, and some before: