Hear all about it! Corporations Create their Own Crisis! would be the slogan of newsboys peddling papers if there were still newsboys. Unfortunately, discussing the obvious reason for today’s economic woes is as rare as yesteryear’s newsboys.
Companies throughout America are complaining about the labor shortage, strikes, and the import shipping crisis.
In August, a record 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs according to USA Today. Some analysts have coined the term “The Great Resignation” to describe this trend. Among the reasons workers are citing for quitting are low pay, lack of schedule flexibility, and COVID concerns.
As I write this, there are thousands of workers on strike as the growing income gap between the top 1% and working Americans keeps getting wider. Striketober was summarized by Johnnie Kallas of Cornell University in an article for TIME magazine this way “workers are fed up with low pay and understaffing and they have more leverage with employers needing to hire right now.”
A common refrain among Human Resource professionals that “If management gets a union, it deserves one” has never been more true. It could also read “If management gets a strike, it deserves one.”
Corporate profits have increased from $1,533.2 billion in 2007 to $2,250.5 billion in 2019. Meanwhile, average wages have grown in only 10 of the last 40 years according to the Economic Policy Institute.
The corporate practice of chasing low costs in all situations has led to frustrated workers and customers. This has been a factor in the current 65 percent approval of Labor unions in a recent survey by Gallup.
Of course, all the crying and complaining about cargo ships stuck on the coast has its roots in that same – lowest cost no matter what corporate mentality. NBC News stated that in August, 2019 it took 40 days for a product to ship from China to America. In August, 2021 that same journey took 73 days.
Many of these cargo ships are full of products that used to be made in America.
When those products were made in America they supported middle class jobs, strong communities, and a thriving economy. They also gave workers the leverage to bargain for better pay, benefits, and working conditions.
Today’s corporate created crisis brings to mind another slogan by Jim Rohn – “If you don’t like what you are reaping, you had better change what you have been sowing.”
UAW Local 2250