This month, the members of the Writers Guild of America, East and West, determined to strike for the primary time in 15 years. Two weeks earlier, UPS workers represented by the Teamsters started negotiating with the corporate to exchange an current settlement set to run out on the finish of July. If a brand new deal will not be agreed to, these staff might strike as they did with nice success in 1997, delaying the supply of products throughout the nation. You could not suppose a Hollywood author and a UPS driver or bundle handler have a lot in widespread, however the struggles they’re presently dealing with spotlight how the struggle for labor rights is one which we should all have interaction in–no matter what we do.

On the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Individuals have been remoted resulting from lockdown orders, streaming TV reveals and films supplied an entertaining respite to assist us overlook our troubles whereas supply drivers diligently ensured that important items reached their vacation spot in order that our financial system might perform.

A vital consequence of the pandemic has been the rising appreciation Individuals developed for long-overlooked “important” staff.  We realized how vital they’re to assist make sure the nation’s financial system can function easily. In flip, these “important” staff–and staff of all stripes–gained a renewed sense of their worth–and a dedication to see to it that they have been handled with dignity and afforded company of their workplaces.

This revival of the labor motion led to the rise of historic organizing campaigns at Starbucks, Amazon, and amongst graduate scholar staff at faculties and universities, to call a couple of. And it’s underneath this lens that we should see what is going on within the author’s strike and the UPS negotiations. Despite the fact that all these staff do totally different jobs, their struggle is identical.

Writers need elevated pay, higher well being care and pension safety, and higher protections in order that the writing career doesn’t grow to be one other “gig” job. Drivers at UPS are combating for, amongst different calls for, elevated pay for part-time workers and the elimination of a second class of drivers who deal with weekend deliveries so that each one drivers are handled equally. It’s hanging that whether or not an individual works in a writing room or a supply processing flooring, they’re sick and uninterested in the gradual devaluation of their labor resulting from company greed and the frenzy for short-term income.

These staff aren’t simply combating for higher pay and advantages for themselves. They’re additionally combating to guard the way forward for their professions in order that newer and youthful staff get the identical alternatives they acquired.

All through the revived labor motion, there may be great solidarity inside and throughout unions. A recognition that their tons are tied collectively. Briefly, staff are united in methods unseen for many years.

Sadly, Washington is letting staff down once they want assist essentially the most. Over the last Congress, the Senate didn’t go the PRO Act, repeating a 50-year sample of failing to reform federal labor regulation to reinforce the rights of staff to arrange–together with when Democrats managed each chambers underneath 4 Democratic presidents from Carter to Biden. Despite the fact that there may be an excessive amount of power presently within the labor motion, labor regulation nonetheless closely favors firms and executives who wish to cease staff from having their voice. The PRO Act would have rectified this by growing penalties for violations of employee’s rights, empowering staff combating to arrange, and stopping employer interference to make sure free and honest union elections.

Nonetheless, due to the filibuster, the Senate didn’t go this much-needed laws. Equally, Congress final 12 months failed to extend the price range of the Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) sufficient to satisfy present wants. The NLRB is the company tasked with imposing federal labor regulation and is commonly the final recourse for organizing staff who’ve had their rights violated by their employers. On this time of historic ranges of employee exercise, the NLRB doesn’t have the price range obligatory to make sure compliance with the regulation devoted to upholding their rights. Employers know and perceive that they may typically not face any penalties for a lot of of their violations due to the restricted sources accessible to the NLRB.

Our elected representatives can not let this stand. The suitable to arrange and withhold labor is key in any nation that claims to be a democracy. However a proper that can not be vindicated isn’t any proper in any respect. The writers’ strike and the UPS negotiations are two present examples of why we want robust protections for staff’ freedom to arrange and discount collectively. Employees nationwide are standing up however have been let down for a lot too lengthy in Washington. We should take daring motion, go the PRO Act, and totally fund the NLRB.

Employees are united, it’s now time for Washington to behave.

Andy Levin is a Distinguished Senior Fellow on the Middle for American Progress who has labored on labor points throughout two phrases in Congress, as Michigan’s Chief Workforce Officer, on the AFL-CIO, and within the Clinton Labor Division.

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