I participated in the Mass Rally in support of Local Union No. 3 IBEW's strike against Spectrum/Charter Communications today outside the Spectrum HQ in the Flatiron district. Charter is a $97 billion cable and telecommunications behemoth, and the strikers have been at it for weeks after contract negotiations broke down. The breaking point for the union was efforts by Spectrum to cut their benefits package.
I don't presume to be an expert in labor negotiations, but what was most moving to me were the stories that the individual strikers told me. Each man and woman on strike has voluntarily given up their paycheck. They're burning through savings, borrowing against a 401k, looking towards the day when they become eligible for unemployment checks, i.e. taking on a tremendous amount of daily stress for collective goal of getting a little more security for their future. It doesn't seem so crazy an ask, these electricians and technicians who do the work to keep New York's TVs and internet running, does it? It can't be that hard for a company who makes profits in the billions (nearly $4bln last year), does it?
I don't have anything profound to add to this. The situation America is in now is a man-made one; through laws and decisions and actions that have accrued over the decades, we've come to a place where a rapacious appetite for money at the top has put large swathes of the masses in hard times. That should be remedied, it can be remedied, and it will be remedied.
The only other comment I'd add is that once we put in place single-payer-based universal healthcare, workers will gain one big source of independence and economic power. That's a story for another day though.