by Ben Solidaridad, Workers’ Voice/La Voz de los Trabajadores

In recent months, there has been a surge of coverage in both the mainstream bourgeois press and the socialist and labor press surrounding what has been termed “Striketober” and “Strikesgiving” – the uptick in strikes and workplace struggle that accelerated throughout this past year and culminated in the fall. Much of this coverage, particularly the coverage in the bourgeois press, has exaggerated the intensity of this uptick. To my mind, it isn’t accurate to describe this moment as being tantamount to a “strike wave” considering the fact that present strike levels are still far below the yearly strike numbers regularly sustained as recently as the 1980s. More importantly, in order for an uptick in strikes to qualify as a strike wave, the strikes have to be interconnected and linked. One strike has to serve as inspiration for others – so that multiple strikes compound together into a single, unified movement. In this regard, it must be said that the current uptick in strikes, while extremely inspiring, was overwhelmingly comprised of individual strikes that lacked connection to one another.[1]

But even within the labor and socialist press, which has generally adopted a more clear-eyed assessment of the uptick in strikes, there has been some significant confusion. One point that needs to be cleared up relates to an understanding of where this uptick in strikes is taking place. What sectors are involved? And which groupings of workers are leading the way? In this regard, most of the socialist commentators that have written about “Striketober” have come to the same conclusion: The uptick in strike activity, while largely centered in the private sector, is taking place all over. That is, it isn’t concentrated in any one sector or segment of the workforce. As Alex Press puts it in an otherwise insightful article published in Jacobin in October, the strike movement is taking place “in a range of industries across the private sector.”[2] Surprisingly, socialist academic Kim Moody also implies this same point, noting in a piece in Spectre that many of the strikes are taking place “in industries where we haven’t seen many strikes for a while, like retail, entertainment, or major manufacturing firms” – while others are taking place “in areas that became more strike-prone in recent years, like health care and education.”[3] Meanwhile, in her recent article in the Nation, prominent labor-liberal commentator and former union bureaucrat Jane McAlevey simply acknowledges “the key shift from public sector strikes in 2018 to increased walkouts in the so-called private sector today.”[4]

These observations overlook a key matter of strategic significance for the socialist and labor movement. As a point of fact, the uptick in strikes in 2021 was not randomly spread across the entire private-sector economy. Rather, the strikes of 2021 were heavily concentrated at the point of production and led by industrial workers, in particular workers in the manufacturing industry. To his credit, longtime socialist and former Teamsters member Joe Allen points this out explicitly in an excellent recent article in Tempest magazine, observing that, in 2021, “strikes have returned to the industrial core of the economy.”[5] Notably, the concentration of strikes in the manufacturing industry and other industrial sectors stands in contrast to the established trend in recent years, where strike activity has been disproportionately centered in the public sector and led by teachers, as well as by health care workers in the service sector.

It’s worth looking at official statistics in order to demonstrate this point. In terms of government figures, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counts only strikes waged by groups of 1,000 or more workers. This means that many important strikes are, of course, left off. Nonetheless, the BLS figures provide a useful heuristic for gauging strike activity. To summarize, not including the IBEW strike at Charter Communications in New York and New Jersey (which has been ongoing since 2017), the BLS currently lists just 12 strikes involving 1,000 or more workers that took place in 2021.[6] (This statistic alone calls into question much of the talk about a “strike wave” last year.) Of the 12, a full eight of these strikes have been led by industrial workers and taken place in value-producing industrial sectors at the core of the economy.[7] This includes five such strikes in manufacturing: 1.) the recently-concluded BCTGM strike at Kellogg’s factories in four states; 2.) the multistate Nabisco strike, also led by the BCTGM; 3.) the USW strike at steel plants in multiple states owned by the company Allegheny Technologies Incorporated; 4.) the UAW strike at the Volvo trucks plant in Dublin, Virginia; and 5.) the UAW strike at John Deere plants in multiple states.[8] In addition, one strike each took place in the construction, mineral extraction, and logistics sectors. These are, respectively, the strike by members of the Northwest Carpenters Union at construction sites in the Seattle area; the ongoing UMWA strike at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama; and the Teamsters strike at the Hunts Point Produce Market in New York City.[9]

Altogether, of the 12 strikes counted by the BLS, the eight industrial strikes involved a total of 21,000 workers and led to 732,800 days idle from work. In contrast, the non-industrial strikes involved just 9,200 workers and led to 154,000 days idle.

Beyond this, it’s also worth noting that 2021 witnessed numerous additional important manufacturing strikes that weren’t counted by the BLS. Some of the more significant such strikes include the following:

  • The lockout of some 200 Teamsters-organized oil refinery workers at the Marathon Petroleum refinery in St. Paul Park, Minnesota;
  • The ongoing lockout of more than 600 USW members at the ExxonMobil refinery in Beaumont, Texas;
  • The BCTGM strike by roughly 600 workers at the Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas;
  • The ongoing strike by 450 USW workers at the Special Metals Corporation nickel alloy plant in Huntington, West Virginia;
  • The strike by nearly 500 USW members at the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Shelby, Ohio;
  • The strike by some 400 USW members at the Constellium aluminum plant in Muscle Shoals, Alabama;
  • The strike by over 400 USW workers at the NLMK steel plant in Farrell, Pennsylvania;
  • The one-day strike by around 780 UAW-organized auto parts workers at the Kirchoff Automotive plant in Tecumseh, Michigan;
  • The partial strike, also led by the UAW, of some 300 auto parts workers at the Marysville Axle plant, owned by the multinational company ZF, in Marysville, Michigan;
  • The strike by more than 300 UAW-organized aerospace workers at the Senior Aerospace SSP plant in Burbank, California;
  • The strike by roughly 150 BCTGM members at the Rich Products-owned Jon Donaire ice cream cake factory in Santa Fe Springs, California;
  • The UFCW strike of some 400 workers at Heaven Hill bourbon production facilities in Bardstown, Kentucky;
  • The strike by nearly 300 IAM members at the Garlock Sealing Technologies plant in Palmyra, New York.

On top of strike activity, there were two major internal union developments in 2021 that also indicate a growing restlessness and militancy on the part of unionized industrial workers. The first was the victorious referendum vote within the UAW in favor of “one member, one vote” – a direct election system for selecting union leadership. The referendum – which sets the stage for rank-and-file reformers to challenge the ossified, class collaborationist bureaucrats that control the UAW in a future union election – was brought about as a result of a federal government probe into widespread corruption on the part of the top leadership of the union. During the run up to the vote, the UAW leadership tacitly campaigned for members to vote to retain the old system of delegate-based voting for leadership – a system that has enabled a single, increasingly corrupt caucus to control the union for more than 70 years. As it turned out, the victorious referendum vote was made possible, in no small part, by the efforts of a new rank-and-file caucus within the union, Unite All Workers for Democracy (UAWD), which has called for the UAW to adopt a more combative approach in dealing with the auto bosses and other employers. Ultimately, the referendum vote in favor of direct elections passed by a stunning margin of 63.6 percent – a clear sign that the union’s hundreds of thousands of members in auto, auto parts production, aerospace, agricultural equipment production, and other industrial sectors are sick and tired of the status quo.[10]

Meanwhile, in the Teamsters union, members voted by a similarly wide margin in November to elect the Teamsters United slate, headed by Sean O’Brien and Fred Zuckerman, as the union’s new top leadership. In the election, O’Brien and Zuckerman defeated the hand-picked successors of outgoing longtime Teamsters president James P. Hoffa, another bureaucratic practitioner of concessionary bargaining and shameless class collaboration with employers. Incoming union president O’Brien, the current leader of New England Joint Council 10, was formerly a Hoffa loyalist that fell out of favor with the old guard president several years ago. In recent years, however, O’Brien has advocated for the union to adopt a different approach. During the campaign, he emphasized the need for the Teamsters to fight employers for stronger contracts and, in addition, to organize the unorganized in the Teamsters’ core industrial jurisdictions. The incoming leadership has also pledged to adopt a harder line in the 2023 contract negotiations with United Parcel Services (UPS), where the Teamsters represent nearly 350,000 workers. According to many commentators, it’s quite possible that a strike could take place next year when the UPS contract expires. While O’Brien is clearly a creature of the union bureaucracy, the election of the Teamsters United slate nonetheless “represents a vote for a change” within the Teamsters, as Joe Allen aptly puts it.[11]

Altogether, the trend is clear: 2021 was a year when a small but noteworthy grouping of manufacturing and other industrial workers began the process of relearning how to strike and fight back.

This development is of significant importance for the revolutionary socialist movement given the central role that industrial labor plays in the process of capitalist profit accumulation – and, connected to this, the role that industrial workers must play in the revival of the labor movement and, ultimately, the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. As I wrote in an article in Left Voice in early 2020, “The strategic importance of the industrial proletariat relates to the fact that it is this segment of the working class that produces the vast majority of the surplus labor value that is appropriated by the capitalist system. In this way, organized industrial workers have a crucial source of leverage in the class struggle as a result of their ability to bring commodity production (and distribution) to a halt – and thus to throttle the capitalist accumulation process.” Beyond this, “industrial workers must, by necessity, play a central role in the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism since they alone have the ability to lead the way in the seizure of the means of production and the conversion of industry to socialist production.”[12]

* * *

In order to develop a critical analysis and begin to plot strategy for building the class struggle, it’s important for revolutionary socialists to explain why it was that strike activity in 2021 was so heavily concentrated among industrial workers. Many of the articles by other socialists, including those by Allen, Moody, and Press, provide apt summaries of the various pressures and dynamics that led to the general uptick in strikes in 2021. While this isn’t the place to rehash all of this in detail, suffice to say that the favorable job market for workers – as well as the brutal experience of the pandemic, which demonstrated to many “essential” workers that their bosses were willing to kill them for the sake of profit – factored into the uptick in strikes in 2021. But there’s another reason that helps to account for why manufacturing workers specifically were more inclined to engage in struggle this past year.

Contrary to the assumptions of many bourgeois commentators (and many socialist commentators, as well), the manufacturing industry in the United States has been in a state of expansion for most of the past decade. Between 2010 and 2019, the U.S. manufacturing industry added some 1.3 million jobs.[13] And the rate of industrial job growth was especially pronounced in certain areas of the country, in particular in the Midwest, the Southeast, and the Southwest – and, connected to this, in Right-to-Work states. As I wrote in the Left Voice article, between 2010 and 2018, a number of states in the Midwest and the Southeast saw “particularly high rates of manufacturing job growth. Michigan alone witnessed 35.1 percent growth in manufacturing jobs – the largest such growth rate in the entire country. […] Also in the Great Lakes region, in Indiana, manufacturing employment grew by 21.5 percent. Meanwhile, in the South, a full five states saw manufacturing job growth of around 20 percent: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Tennessee.”[14]

This trend of protracted manufacturing job growth – which followed a period of massive manufacturing job losses that took place between 2000 and 2010 – was facilitated, in part, through protectionist and stimulus measures implemented for the purpose of protecting U.S. imperialism. This included the 2009 auto bailout under Obama and the Trump steel and aluminum tariffs, which have been largely continued under the Biden Administration.[15] Beyond this, a more significant factor is the fact that many or most of the jobs in light manufacturing that could be easily and profitably outsourced abroad already were outsourced during the period preceding 2010.[16] The expansion of the U.S. manufacturing industry has also been facilitated by foreign direct investment in U.S. factories by multinational companies, including those based in Germany, Japan, South Korea, China, and other countries. Some of the most strategically important segments of the contemporary U.S. manufacturing industry – for instance, the Southern auto industry – are dominated by foreign multinational companies.

This trend in growth shows every sign of continuing into the future. To begin with, the Biden Administration has expanded many of the policies aimed at bolstering and protecting U.S. manufacturing that started under the Trump and Obama Administrations. In addition, Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which passed in November, was conceived of with the aim of stimulating U.S. manufacturing through the inclusion of “Buy American” provisions for government procurement. Many manufacturing companies (and the finance capitalists that invest in them) in sectors as diverse as concrete production, EV battery plug-in station manufacturing, and fiber optic cable production are now eagerly anticipating the opportunity to reap windfall profits on the back of lucrative government contracts provided for in the infrastructure bill. Companies in these and other sectors are investing heavily to expand domestic productive capacity in order to get in on the boondoggle.[17]

In a detailed article from July, the Wall Street Journal observes that the United States (along with other countries in the West) has embraced what they refer to as “industrial policy” – “the idea that governments should direct resources to industries critical to the national interest rather than leaving things to the market.” The impetus for this shift in the United States has been a push to bolster competitiveness with China, which has long pursued a policy of subsidizing and protecting domestic industry. As part of this shift, the Biden Administration has singled out four key sectors as priority areas for expanding and consolidating domestic production – “semiconductors, batteries, specialized minerals and pharmaceutical ingredients.”[18] All four of these sectors have seen massive capital investment in new domestic production facilities over the course of the past year.

It should be noted that the ruling class and its representatives in the capitalist state are seeking to implement these policies for their own reasons. That this has created a more favorable job market for blue-collar workers – and, most importantly, led to increased opportunities to fight back – is a largely unintended and, in the case of the latter development, undesirable consequence from the perspective of the capitalists.

As it is, government policies and broader economic trends have set the stage for a quick rebound in the U.S. manufacturing industry following the massive downturn that initially accompanied the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Between March and April 2020, the United States shed an astounding 1.3 million factory jobs nearly overnight as a result of the pandemic.[19] In the period since this, however, the U.S. manufacturing industry has regained the vast majority of these jobs. (As of November 2021, the United States was just 172,000 manufacturing jobs short of employment levels in March 2020.) In 2022, the industry appears to be on pace to surpass the manufacturing employment highs of 2019 and early 2020. This comes even while the pandemic prompted many older factory workers to retire from the workforce.

As evidence of this, there has been a surge of capital investment in many segments of industry. Just to cite one noteworthy case, as it stands today, major auto and battery companies have announced plans to build a full 13 new large-scale EV battery plants within the next five years, according to the Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy.[20] The majority of these announcements have taken place within the last year – with the most recent being the plan by Toyota to build a $1.29 billion EV battery plant outside of Greensboro, North Carolina that will initially employ some 1,750 workers (with the possibility of expanding to 3,875 workers in the future following additional investments). In order to lure Toyota to invest in the area, state and local governments passed legislation pledging to provide an incentive package to the company totaling an astounding $438.7 million. (Meanwhile, in North Carolina, the starting wage for teachers at present is just $35,000 per year!)[21]

* * *

So what does this mean for factory workers and how does it connect with the uptick in production strikes that took place in 2021?

The massive loss of factory jobs that took place during the period from 2000 to 2010 served as a major deterrent for industrial workers, discouraging them from engaging in struggle. The mantra that factory bosses used in their dealings with workers during this period and in the years that followed was, essentially, “You’re lucky to have a job. Shut up and take whatever we give you.” It’s not surprising that this period witnessed a massive decline in wages and working conditions for workers throughout the U.S. manufacturing industry. To cite one particularly brutal example, in the U.S. auto parts sector, real wages “fell by nearly 14 percent from 2003 to 2013,” according to a 2014 report by the National Employment Law Project.[22]

But the objective conditions have now shifted – even while the threat of capital flight is still undoubtedly a factor in many cases.[23] As already noted, in Michigan alone, there was a 35.1 percent increase in manufacturing jobs between 2010 and 2018. Thus, while manufacturing job growth is far from making up for the losses that took place between 2000 and 2010, factory workers have nonetheless witnessed a steady improvement in the job market for the past decade. Many manufacturing workers know that, if they lose their job, it wouldn’t be difficult to go and get a new one at another plant in the area that’s currently hiring. This has been a recurrent point that has been made by many of the groups of industrial workers that walked off the job in 2021. As Chantel Mendenhall, a BCTGM worker at the Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas, recounts in an article in Labor Notes, during the run-up to the strike at the Topeka plant, one fellow worker insistently spread the message: “Look, we’ve got Covid, everybody can go and get a second job. You can’t walk 10 feet without seeing 20 hiring signs.”[24] If need be, workers could find jobs at one of the other large-scale factories in the Topeka area – including, for example, the city’s new $270 million Mars Chocolate North America plant, which opened in 2014.[25]

Meanwhile, in the context of a growing manufacturing job market, many union workers felt the need to stand their ground and protect the gains that they’d won through struggle in previous periods. As pointed out by Dave Hagerty, a union rep and trustee at the Kellogg’s plant in Battle Creek, Michigan, where workers recently completed a protracted strike, going on strike was essential to protect the wages and conditions of workers at the Kellogg’s plant within the context of a local manufacturing job market increasingly dominated by non-union jobs with subpar conditions. If workers didn’t take a stand and fight back, Hagerty noted, “this job will be like any other factory job around here.”[26] Within this context, many of the industrial workers that walked off the job this past year concluded that there was more to win than there was to lose by entering into struggle. (Unfortunately, it appears that conditions at Kellogg’s might well continue to decline given the further expansion of two-tier provisions provided for in the new union contract that ended the strike.)[27]

Thus, the decade-long trend of manufacturing job growth – coupled with a long-term decline in wages and working conditions – helped to set the stage for the uptick in strikes that took place in the manufacturing sector in 2021. Of course, it should be added that the potential for struggle in the manufacturing industry has, at the same time, been limited by the dramatic erosion of union strength in this sector in recent decades. This can clearly be seen in statistics for union density in manufacturing. In 1973, the union membership density for private sector manufacturing workers stood at 38.9 percent. In 2019, in contrast, membership density in the sector was just 8.6 percent – well below the 10.3 percent density for the workforce as a whole. And even while the manufacturing industry grew significantly between 2010 and 2019, the loss of union membership in manufacturing continued. By 2019, there were 127,800 less unionized factory workers than there were in 2010.[28]

Thus, in order to truly set the stage for a full-blown “strike wave” at the point of production, we’re going to have to get organized.

* * *

So what does this mean for the socialist movement?

At this point, there’s reason to expect that the increased willingness of pockets of industrial workers to engage in struggle will persist going forward. This is important considering the fact that the industrial working class is, as already noted, in the best position to directly challenge the capitalist class.

Within this context, now isn’t a bad time for young socialists and others that are between jobs and looking for a change to get rooted at the point of production – ideally in large-scale factories in critical segments of heavy industry. This is a serious endeavor, of course – one to be carried out by those that are dedicated to building the struggle on the shopfloor for the long term.

In general, there is a need for the revolutionary socialist movement to develop, where possible and necessary, what might be called jobs programs. The point of this is to aid comrades, especially comrades from working-class backgrounds and those working low-wage and otherwise undesirable jobs, to find long-term employment in strategic industrial workplaces and sectors. Such programs can serve a collective political function – and they can also be individually helpful to comrades that are in need of a job. Oftentimes, socialists assume that anything that smacks of “industrialization” is likely to take the form of some sort of artificial, top-down campaign to force professional-strata comrades to quit their jobs and move to (say) Gainesville, Georgia to find work at a chicken processing plant, recalling the policies of the Socialist Workers Party. It doesn’t have to be anything like that! Initiatives like jobs programs that are focused on placing working-class comrades in critical job openings have the potential to make the socialist movement more open and welcoming to working-class recruits.

Now is just the start of the capitalist business cycle – and the working class has already shown an increased willingness to fight back. It’s a good time to be building the socialist movement.

 

Footnotes

  1. In this regard, I’m inclined to agree with a point Nelson Lichtenstein makes in an article in Dissent from late October. In order to set the stage for a real nationwide strike wave that incorporates a significant portion of the working class, we will have to begin the process of organizing the unorganized and bringing the masses of non-union workers, who comprise well over 90 percent of the private-sector workforce at present, into the labor movement. Only through organization (and proto-organization) will we be able to really engage in strike waves. (Of course, it should be added, too, that the only way to organize the unorganized in any widespread way will be through strike activity.) See Nelson Lichtenstein, “Is This a Strike Wave?” Dissent, October 25, 2021.
  2. Alex Press, “US Workers Are in a Militant Mood,” Jacobin, October 15, 2021.
  3. Kim Moody, “Upticks, Waves, and Social Upsurge: The Strikes of 2021 in Context,” Spectre, November 15, 2021.
  4. Jane McAlevey, “How Workers Can Win in 2022,” The Nation, December 27, 2021.
  5. Joe Allen, “Striketober,” Tempest, November 3, 2021.
  6. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Figures for Work Stoppages, “Detailed monthly listing, 2021,” (accessed December 31, 2021).
  7. The four large-scale non-industrial strikes that took place in 2021 include two strikes in higher education – the strike by graduate student workers at Columbia University and New York University – and two strikes in health care – the strike at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo, New York and and the strike by members of SEIU Local 73 at Cook County Health in the Chicago area, a public-sector employer. (The latter strike also involved workers employed at Cook County’s Offices of the President, County Clerk, and County Sheriff.)
  8. For worthwhile overviews of each of these strikes, see the following articles: Joe Allen, “Not so… grrrrrrreat!” Tempest, December 28, 2021. Dan DiMaggio, “Nabisco Workers Hope Strike Inspires Others: ‘There’s More of Us than There Are of Them,’” Labor Notes, October 25, 2021. Peter Knowlton, “Striking ATI Steelworkers Hold the Line for Premium-Free Health Insurance,” Labor Notes, June 14, 2021. Ben Solidaridad, “Volvo Workers Back on Strike at Virginia Trucks Plant,” Workers’ Voice/La Voz de los Trabajadores, June 10, 2021. Ernie Gotta, “UAW worker: ‘John Deere strike has been years in the making,’” Socialist Resurgence, October 17, 2021.
  9. See the following: Logan Swan, “Seattle Carpenters Take On Contractors, Confront Sellout Leadership,” Socialist Alternvative, November 4, 2021. “Class Battle in Alabama: Victory to the UMWA Warrior Met Coal Strike!” The Internationalist, July 2021. Bianca Cunningham, “In a Six-Day Strike, Bronx Produce Workers Doubled Their Raise and Inspired New York,” Labor Notes, January 26, 2021.
  10. Jonah Furman, “Auto Workers Win Direct Democracy in Referendum,” Labor Notes, December 1, 2021.
  11. Joe Allen, “The Teamsters Election,” Tempest, November 29, 2021. David Leonard and Thomas Black, “First Task for the Teamsters’ Next Boss: Take On UPS,” Bloomberg Businessweek, November 12, 2021.
  12. Ben Solidaridad, “Building Power at the Point of Production,” Left Voice, January 2, 2020.
  13. This figure is calculated from BLS data for seasonally-adjusted manufacturing employment. data.bls.gov (accessed December 31, 2021).
  14. Solidaridad, “Building Power at the Point of Production.” For details on the boom in the manufacturing industry in the Southwest, see Ben Foldy and Austen Hufford, “The Southwest Is America’s New Factory Hub. ‘Cranes Everywhere.’” Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2021.
  15. Ana Swanson, “Trump to Impose Sweeping Steel and Aluminum Tariffs,” New York Times, March 1, 2018. Adam S. Hersh and Robert E. Scott, “Aluminum producing and consuming industries have thrived under U.S. Section 232 import measures,” Economic Policy Institute paper, May 25, 2021.
  16. It’s worth noting that my conclusions here contradict the arguments advanced by Kim Moody who, I would argue, has presented a false analysis of trends of U.S. manufacturing employment in recent decades. See Kim Moody, On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War (Haymarket Books, 2017). Kim Moody, “Productivity, crises and imports in the loss of manufacturing jobs,” Capital & Class 44, No. 1 (2020): 47-61. Susan N. Houseman, “Understanding the Decline in U.S. Manufacturing Employment,” Upjohn Institute Working Paper 18-287 (2018).
  17. Stephen Singer, “‘Buy American’ that Sen. Murphy has pushed for years was tucked into the massive infrastructure bill. Now it’s law.” Hartford Courant, December 26, 2021. Katie Lobosco and Tami Luhby, “Here’s what’s in the bipartisan infrastructure package,” CNN, November 14, 2021. Alex Leary and Ken Thomas, “Biden Proposes Buy American Rule for Government Procurements,” Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2021.
  18. Greg Ip, “‘Industrial Policy is Back: The West Dusts Off Old Idea to Counter China,” Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2021.
  19. BLS figures for seasonally-adjusted manufacturing employment. data.bls.gov (accessed December 31, 2021).
  20. “Thirteen New Electric Vehicle Battery Plants Are Planned in the U.S. Within the Next Five Years,” Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, December 20, 2021.
  21. Lars Dolder and Zachery Eanes, “Toyota to open multibillion-dollar, car battery plant in NC with thousands of jobs,” News & Observer, December 10, 2021.
  22. Catherine Ruckelshaus and Sarah Leberstein, Manufacturing Low Pay: Declining Wages in the Jobs That Built America’s Middle Class (National Employment Law Project, November 2014).
  23. See, for example, the devastating 2021 closure of the USW-organized Viatris pharmaceutical plant in Chestnut Ridge, located outside of Morgantown, West Virginia. Michael Sainato, “‘When is this going to end?’: US factory town devastated by jobs moving overseas,” The Guardian, June 20, 2021.
  24. Dan DiMaggio, “‘It Feels Like We Started a Movement’: Despite Mixed Results in Frito-Lay Strike, Workers Proud They Stood Up,” Labor Notes, October 25, 2021.
  25. Crystal Lindell, “Mars opens new $270M facility in Topeka, Kan.,” Candy Industry, March 27, 2014.
  26. Jane Slaughter, “Kellogg’s Strikers: We Want a Clear Path Out of Two-Tier, Set in Stone,” Labor Notes, December 13, 2021.
  27. Joe Allen, “Not so… grrrrrrreat!”
  28. Unionstats.com, “Union Membership, Coverage, Density, and Employment Among Private Sector Manufacturing Workers, 1973-2019.”