40th Anniversary of First-Ever Pay Equity Strike

It seems that we’ve heard of more worker strikes and calls for unionization in recent years. Employees are making the tough decision to band together and walk off the job to achieve change. The tactic appears to be working. Last week, workers at a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, voted to unionize. Of the 235,000 Starbucks employees spread across nearly 9,000 U.S. stores, none (until now) have been members of a union. There has been a power shift. Currently, it appears that workers have the upper hand. The historic number of resignations in the U.S. indicates this shift. Everywhere you look, there are ‘help wanted’ signs. Employers are struggling to fill vacant positions as employees leave jobs for better pay, benefits, and more work/life balance. Workers going on strike to effect change is nothing new. According to this article, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the San Jose pay equity strike, the first such strike in U.S. history. The article explains, “it was a fight to raise the wages in undervalued jobs (dominated by women), from clerical workers and data analysts to librarians and recreation leaders.” The strike ended nine days after it began, with workers winning cost-of-living increases for all employees and a separate pool of money for pay equity adjustments for employees in female-dominated job classes.