2012 was an exciting year for organized labor as well as worker’s rights, generating a lot of excitement that 2013 could hold even more. Protecting the rights of all workers and creating a safer, more productive, healthier working environment is key not just to human rights, but also to economic recovery in the U.S. Could 2013 be the year in which organized labor becomes a powerful force in U.S. politics and society again, after years of being pushed to the margins?
Strikes and walkouts. From January to December, workers took to the streets in organized strikes as well as walkouts to demand better working conditions and educate the public. Hyatt housekeepers demanded safer conditions, JFK employees raised concerns about security, fast food workers walked away from the counter in New York, and telecommunications employees highlighted problems with their contracts. All of these workers weren’t just fighting for better conditions for themselves (sometimes without even the protection of a union), but for a safer society, too; they pointed out that their poor working conditions endangered not just them, but the public.