Labor's main weapon is the strike or at least the credible threat to withhold labor. England is seeing a national rail strike this week. This is from ABC News:
LONDON -- Britain faces the second of three national railway strikes Thursday after new negotiations between union and employers ended in deadlock.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union accused the government of “wrecking” Wednesday’s talks and said the 24-hour walkout by 40,000 cleaners, signalers, maintenance workers and station staff would go ahead as planned. The union's action this week is Britain's biggest and most disruptive railway strike for 30 years.
Rail infrastructure company Network Rail said it was “disappointed that the RMT have again chosen to walk away from negotiations. We remain available for talks, day or night.”
The union held a daylong strike on Tuesday that brought the U.K. rail network to a crawl, with only a fifth of passenger services running. Another walkout is planned for Saturday.
The dispute centers on pay, working conditions and job security as Britain’s train companies aim to cut costs and staffing after two years in which emergency government funding kept them afloat.
The strike pits the union against 13 privately owned train-operating companies and the government-owned National Rail. While Britain's Conservative government insists it is not involved in the dispute, the union notes that it plays a major role in the heavily regulated industry.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has put blame for the strike squarely on the union.
The railway union's leader, General Secretary Mick Lynch, said the government had “wrecked these negotiations by not allowing Network Rail to withdraw their letter threatening redundancy for 2,900 of our members.”
The final paragraph of this piece is very interesting to me:
Unions have told the country to brace for more as workers face the worst cost-of-living squeeze in more than a generation. Lawyers are planning a walkout, and unions representing teachers and postal workers both plan to consult their members about possible actions.
You can read more in the Guardian.
Also, look at OpenDemocracy.net:
We could talk for hours about the causes of this, but the simplest is that, in the negotiation over who gets the wealth we all produce with our work, bosses and owners are getting more and more, and workers are getting less and less. And the simple reason for that is that fewer and fewer of us are members of trade unions, and fewer and fewer of us are organised enough to go on strike.
It looks like the teachers could be next up for industrial action in the UK:
This is from The Guardian:
Leaders of the country’s largest teaching union say they will ballot their members on strike action later this year unless the government agrees to an “inflation-plus” pay rise.
The joint general secretaries of the National Education Union (NEU) said in a letter to the education secretary, Nadhim Zahawi, that they would campaign in favour of industrial action if the government persisted in its current plan for a 3% pay increase for most teachers in England, after the latest figures showed the consumer price index rising 9.1% last month.
“You must respond to the new economic reality of double-digit inflation and the threat this poses to teacher living standards. We call on you to commit to an inflation-plus increase for all teachers,” the letter stated.
3% increases aren't going to cut it with UK teacher unions. 2-3% is basically what NY public sector workers are being budgeted for.
Maybe some of that labor militancy will cross the Atlantic from the UK.