"Pharmacy workers at CVS or Walgreens have been saddled with this exacerbation of workplace duties without a corollary growth of staffing," says Gretchen Purser, associate professor of sociology. "They feel very overwhelmed, very overburdened, very overworked. And none of that has come along with increased wages, either."
Matthew Huber, professor of geography and the environment, calls the outcome of the strike a huge victory for the United Auto Workers and its workers. “It shows that when workers harness their collective power through strikes, they can force employers to give in to workers’ ambitious demands,” he says.
Michiko Ueda-Ballmer, associate professor of public administration and international affairs, says many young Japanese women would like to get married, “but they simply cannot afford it. The result is that people don’t get married.”
“There is a very different kind of spirit right now” in the UAW, Tod Rutherford, professor of geography and the environment, tells Christian Science Monitor. “People are just saying, ‘That’s enough. We’ve got to do something, make a stand.’”
When automakers faced bankruptcy in 2008, auto workers faced a tough decision: lose jobs or agree to contract changes that would help the companies get a federal bailout. The union chose the latter. “This was a concession they had to make in order to sustain the bailouts and have some kind of recovery,” says Tod Rutherford, professor of geography and the environment.
“The UAW…strike action is ultimately trying to realize one of the Biden Administration’s core policy goals and political selling points: you can have good, family-sustaining union jobs alongside climate action. The problem is the automakers see EV production as a way to trim labor costs and shift production to non-union plants,” says Matt Huber, professor of geography and the environment.
“Suicide was always a men’s issue,” says Michiko Ueda-Ballmer, associate professor of public administration and international affairs. During the pandemic, “suddenly, women’s suffering became visible.” For the first time, “the government was forced to confront an approach to suicide prevention that had previously focused exclusively on middle-aged men.”
In one study, University Professor Jennifer Karas Montez and other researchers found that, if every state simply implemented the same policy environment as Connecticut, “The U.S. would increase its life expectancy by roughly two years,” she says. “That is a massive increase.”