Since the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdowns began in March 2020, over 20 million people have lost their jobs. Factories, schools, public sector institutions, service-oriented businesses and entire industries were forcibly shut down.
Hardworking Americans were deprived of honest opportunities to earn money for themselves and their families. Reports indicate that more than 200,000 small- and medium-sized businesses were forced to permanently cease operations.
When the government started to ease COVID-19 measures and many of America's workers started returning to work, complaints also started coming in about having to work for longer hours with no changes to pay and benefits.
In Deere & Co., one of the largest companies manufacturing industrial equipment in the United States, around 10,000 factory workers unionized with the United Auto Workers and went on strike on Oct. 14. The workers cited the mandatory overtime that could last 12 hours as one of their main complaints.
The strike is at least partially responsible for the equipment and parts shortage currently affecting farmers across the country. (Related: Parts shortage hitting farmers hard as supply chain crisis expected to persist well into 2022.)
At multinational food company Kellogg's, around 1,400 unionized workers under the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union have been on strike since Oct. 5. The workers condemned the company for forcing them to work in seven straight days.
In the entertainment industry, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers narrowly avoided a groundbreaking strike involving between 60,000 to 65,000 unionized film and television workers under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).
Union leaders have reached a tentative three-year contract with the producers. But this contract still needs to be ratified by union members. If the members vote this down, the strike may continue as planned.
IATSE members have complained about workdays that could sometimes last 16 hours long. They also complained that times in between shifts are often too short to give film and television crew members adequate rest periods.
Thousands of other workers, both unionized and nonunionized, are currently engaged in ongoing disputes with their bosses.
These strikes and other labor disputes happening in October, dubbed "Striketober," coupled with the wave of mass resignations -- dubbed the "Great Resignation" -- that saw as many as 4.3 million people quit their jobs in August alone, are crippling America's economy.
This prompted many business leaders to ask if Biden and the rest of the federal government are going to intervene to prevent the economy from crashing any further. Biden is refusing to intervene, saying he is "not going to get into the negotiation."
Nobody in the White House plans to get involved in any of the ongoing labor disputes.
The president has taken the position that the decision to strike is up to the workers, even if them leaving their jobs would be disastrous not just to the business but to the entire economy.
There are some actions Biden can take to resolve a strike. He can send in his nominee to be the chief labor mediator, Javier Ramirez of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), to resolve disputes between workers and businesses.
Even without the FMCS, Biden can force both sides of a labor dispute to the negotiating table under laws that allow the president to intervene in airline or railway strikes or when the strike reaches the level of a national emergency that jeopardizes health and safety.
Learn more about how President Joe Biden is not doing enough to protect America's economy by reading the latest articles at JoeBiden.news.