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‘Striketober’ Isn’t a Sign of Chaos—It’s a Healthy Development for the Country

Liz Shuler
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The picket line has been crowded lately. Tens of thousands of workers are on strike, including nurses in Massachusetts, United Auto Workers at John Deere, coal miners in Alabama, metal workers in West Virginia, hospital workers in New York, ironworkers in Pennsylvania and Kellogg’s workers in four states.

I recently walked the picket line with Keith Bragg, Darlene Carpenter and other members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 358 in Richmond. They saw Nabisco making record profits while trying to weaken health coverage for new hires. Bragg and Carpenter told me they refused to sell out their younger colleagues through a two-tiered system — and after a five-week strike, they won a contract that preserved good benefits for all.

Across industries, workers are standing in solidarity to demand dignity and decency. Some observers see these strikes as one more sign of chaos against the backdrop of an endangered democracy, a persistent pandemic and an increasingly unequal economy.

But this is not chaos. It’s the opposite.

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