Number of Striking US Workers Doubled in 2023 – Bolsonaro’s Son Arrested – IATSE Reform Caucus Launches

The number of workers who went on strike in the US in 2023 more than doubled (UAW)


Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, where, after free medical treatment from the Brazilian SUS, I am getting back into the ballgame

Bolsonaro’s Youngest Son Charged With Fraud

Yesterday, in Rio de Janeiro, former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s son, Jair Renan, was charged with fraud and money laundering. The charges remain sealed as the Bolsonaro family is undergoing several investigations nationwide. 

The charges come as new evidence emerged last week that former President Jair Bolsonaro actively planned a coup ahead of last year’s election. Bolsonaro was forced to turn over his passport, and several top aides were arrested. 

This new arrest could put more pressure on the Bolsonaro family, which has been subject to various raids and investigations in recent weeks. 

For more on the unfolding scandal, check out our report from Rio from last week. 

Number of Striking US Workers More Than Doubled in 2023 

Back in the spring of 2023, Payday accurately predicted that we were in the midst of a gigantic strike wave

According to a new report by the joint Cornell-University of Illinois Labor Action Tracker, the number of workers on strike last year doubled from 224,000 in 2022 to 539,000 in 2023. 

“The last time roughly this many workers went on strike was in 2018 and 2019, fueled by educator strikes,” said Labor Action Tracker Director Johnnie Kallas noted in the introduction to the report. “But this year, large strikes were much more dispersed this past year throughout numerous private sector industries.”

For more, check out the full report here. 

IATSE Reform Caucus Launched Ahead of 2024 Contract Talks 

In 2021, IATSE leadership settled a controversial contract. Union members prepared to strike, only to settle for a contract that was narrowly passed by a margin of 50.3%-to-49.6%.

Now, with the IATSE contract expiring at the end of July, IATSE members have launched a new reform caucus called the Caucus of Rank-and-File Entertainment Workers (CREW). With new energy following the Hollywood strikes, workers are demanding more from the Hollywood studios. 

CREW has launched an in-depth report outlining their demands so that the union avoids the secretive bargaining that they said plagued them in the bitter 2021 contract talks. 

“The demands we had hoped to win in 2021 were not significantly different from what we (still) need in 2024,” read the report’s introduction. “There is no advantage to us bargaining in secret. More valuable than the element of surprise is a clearly articulated set of goals and a well-understood plan of action that demonstrates that we are aware of our power and know how to use it”. 

For more, check out CREW’s report. 

Entertainment Union Organizing Continues to See Upticks 

In December, Payday Report released an exclusive analysis that showed that over 8,000 entertainment workers in 49 organizing campaigns during the Hollywood Strikes. The organizing has continued since then. 

Disneyland characters launched a campaign to unionize this week. Animation workers at DreamWorks and Flying Bark Productions workers also took steps to unionize. 

Finally, as IATSE seeks to negotiate a contract this year, costume designers, who are 87% female and covered by the IATSE Master Agreement, are hoping to achieve pay parity. 

“Members of the CDG and leaders of our Pay Equity Now movement will not sit idly by as this glaring injustice persists,” Costume Designers Guild president Terry Ann Gordon told Deadline. “Costume designers, assistant costume designers and costume illustrators have taken it upon themselves to lead this dialogue, putting this strong message in front of the eyes that are most important when it comes to tangible change – and we’ll continue to push this conversation until we see real change.”

For more, check out Deadline. 

UAW May Strike Again At Ford 

Finally, UAW workers may strike at Ford again. This week, Ford CEO Jim Farley said the strike made them think about how much work they had to send to their 9,000-person Ford Truck plant in Louisville, Kentucky. 

“Our reliance on the UAW turned out to be — we were the first truck plant they shut down,” Farley said during the Wolfe Research Global Auto Conference in New York. “And that was a moment for us. Clearly, our relationship has changed.”

On Friday, the 9,000 Ford workers employed at that plant issued a strike notice over local matters that they said had not been resolved as part of the national contract. 

“The core issues in Kentucky Truck Plant’s local negotiations are health and safety in the plant, including minimum in-plant nurse staffing levels and ergonomic issues, as well as Ford’s continued attempts to erode the skilled trades at Kentucky Truck Plant,” the union said in a news release.

For more, check out WDRB. 

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere

Alright, yinz, that’s all for today. Keep sending tips, story ideas, comments, and complaints to [email protected] 

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Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]