As Unifor bargains towards a midnight strike deadline for Canadian autoworkers, hundreds of their American counterparts spend a fourth day on picket lines.
This, as Ontario elementary school teachers begin weeks of phased strike votes, Hollywood writers and actors remain off the job and the memory of the months-long Windsor Salt strike is still fresh.
For many it’s the most they’ve seen the word “strike” and “union” in a long time – but Rafael Gomez, a professor of employment relations at the University of Toronto, says he’s not surprised.
“It’s not coincidental that it coincides with a period of high inflation,” he says.
Gomez says this season of strikes hasn’t hit the peak seen in previous periods of economic stress, but that the trend is there.
“It’s been a while since labour has been taking the initiative in terms of strike activity, in terms of demanding for management certain concessions,” he says.
On top of sky-high cost of living, Gomez says the landscape this side of the pandemic has given way to an amount of unrest – with some unions unable to bargain at COVID-19’s peak.