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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Opinion

Stand with workers, don’t cross the picket line


picket line

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

In the past few months, there has been a large number of strikes across the nation. With all these workers rising up to advocate for themselves, it’s important to stand in solidarity with them and not cross the picket line.  

These strikes are a good thing. Many companies have been shockingly unfair to the workers. Recently, workers at Kellogg’s cereal factories went on strike due to the company cutting benefits despite the CEO making more money in the past year than before.

Before this strike, the workers of Frito-Lay in Kansas did a walkout due to required overtime and workweeks over 80 hours.

Now Fred Meyer workers are beginning to strike in Oregon, a Starbucks became unionized for the first time and workers even at Activision Blizzard have been striking due to workplace issues.

It’s a time of workers realizing their value and standing up for themselves. Many companies are terribly unfair to the workers, giving them little pay for long hours while executives have more money than they know what to do with. 

Not only is it a case of unfairness but also safety. Recently six Amazon employees died after workers continued to work during a tornado warning in Illinois. Not only that but an Amazon delivery driver was told to keep working during tornado warnings and was threatened with being fired if she didn’t. 

Companies are even willing to risk lives for productivity. It shouldn’t be that way and that’s why workers strike. 

However, workers can’t do it alone. Consumers should boycott the companies where workers are striking to show solidarity with the workers. Buying from a company during the strike, for example, increases the need for productivity and makes it more likely that the company will try to replace the striking workers.

This is actually what Kellogg’s attempted to do until people online spammed the job portal with fake applications so that no one would actually fill the jobs. 

Boycotting also threatens the company that if they don’t change something, they won’t have a customer base anymore. It also encourages workers to keep striking, knowing that people stand with them in solidarity. 

So when you find out that workers from a company are striking, do your absolute best to boycott that company. It can be hard if it’s say, medical staff, striking and you need healthcare. However, it’s not hard to not buy Cheez-Its when Kellogg’s workers strike. 

Especially when it comes to food products, there are usually alternatives and store-brand knock-offs you can get that are just as good. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of which products a company owns, especially since food companies own a lot of different products. 

Ethicalconsumer.org is a good website to help find products from better companies and provide information on which products to avoid if you want to support certain boycotts. The website perfectunion.us also provides good information on current strikes going around the country. 

It’s important to support your fellow workers and help them stand against exploitation. When you see or hear of a strike, don’t cross the picket line.

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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