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The Current State of Striking

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/19/business/economy/workers-strike-economy.html

In this very recent New York Times article, Noah Scheiber goes into detail about the current state of employment striking in the United States. Even though the economy is quite strong at the moment, it appears as though workers are very willing to simply walk off and demand more compensation for their jobs. One of the main reasons for this has to do with the fact that our economy is so strong. Companies are growing in strength and monetary value, but aren’t proportionally increasing their employees’ salaries.

In retaliation, employees will attempt to use the leverage they have when job positions are more difficult to fill in order to demand a raise. We can think of each company as a node and each striker as a node in a network power graph. A worker node may try to demand more money from a company node by saying that another company node may offer more. However, this may not work in the US because of the unforeseen power that the company nodes have. For one, company nodes may be able to just turn around, cut ties with the striker nodes and introduce new worker nodes into the power graph that are willing to work for the price the company nodes offer. Furthermore, some companies have non-compete clauses in their employment contracts or participate in collusion, where companies agree with each other not to hire workers away from each other.

In the end, the worker nodes really have less power than all company nodes because the company nodes have more power than just an outside option. Companies don’t necessarily care about the fairness that should be involved in economic growth. They care about efficiency and making the most money possible. This results in workers striking and because companies have so much power in the employment network, the most that they lose in the end is really nobility in the eyes of those who sympathize with strikers. 

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