Is a Reinvigorated Labor Movement in Store for 2023?

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Since pandemic, labor organizing has grown to include new workers in New Jersey.

And NJ Spotlight reports that workers everywhere are demanding their employers treat them more humanely. In the case of nurses in New Jersey’s hospitals, workers said they felt like executives were putting profits over patient care and worker health.

Patricia Campos-Medina, the executive director of the Worker Institute at ILR-Cornell University, explained that’s due to a shift “in this moment, in which workers realize their own power” and are asking to be treated humanely.

“Look at the railroad [workers]. The real strike is not just about wages, it’s about their ability to take a day off. And the ability to have paid sick leave … and the ability to know what your schedule is, so that … you can have time with your family. For basic things,” said Campos-Medina.  

Workers across industries became fed up with working while sick, not being able to know if they would have a job the following day or not having basic benefits. And they have become increasingly frustrated with corporations making record profits while keeping the money to themselves.

“From Starbucks employees, to railroad workers, to the staff at The New York Times, workers want to be treated more fairly,” says John Sarno, president of the Employers Association of New Jersey.

But Sarno does not believe that employer-members of the Association will see much labor agitation in 2023 because most of them cared for workers during the pandemic.

“We took thousands of calls through the height of the pandemic and did dozens of webinars with thousands attending and most Association members followed the health and safety rules meticulously and did not leave their employees behind,” he says.  

They did their level best to keep the health and safety of the workforce top of mind,’ he adds.

Still Sarno believes that employers should make workplace training a priority for 2023.

“What does it mean when an employer says that employees are its most important assets or that employees drive business growth?” asks Sarno.

Gallup Management Journal has annually surveyed a nationally representative sample of employed adults and has continually found that less than one in three employees are actively engaged in their work primarily because most employees are not encouraged to contribute their intelligence and creativity on the job. Compounding the problem, according to Emerge Leadership Group, eight out of ten supervisors underperform as they step into a new leadership role.

“The hard work of supervision and management at all levels is to nurture an open, safe environment where information is freely shared and expectations for performance are transparent . . . Whether in a union or nonunion workplace, retention of good supervisors is critical to the success of any organization.  But like all valuable assets, supervisors must be developed so that they have the proper skills to lead others,” observes Sarno.

The Association is a nonprofit member association dedicated to improving employer-employee relations and facilitating the exchange of information among employers. It does not not engage in lobbying activity, nor does it directly or indirectly persuade employees concerning their organizing or bargaining rights

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