The 9 Biggest Union Strikes of 2022
Each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data about unions on strike — and last year there were more than usual.
Twenty-three major work stoppages began in the year while others continued from before 2022. In the past two decades, there are usually only 16 such stoppages per year. A major work stoppage involves 1,000 or more workers and lasts at least one shift during the work week.
Here’s a look at the biggest strikes of 2022 — according to the total number of idle workdays from everyone participating — including why workers took a stand and what happened after.
1. IBEW at Charter Communications
Cumulative days idle: 2,284,200
Strike duration: March 28, 2017 — April 18, 2022
Workers involved: 1,800 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 3 located in New York and New Jersey
The largest strike of 2022 was one that lasted more than five years, though the feud between IBEW and cable company Charter began before then.
“Local 3 and Charter Communications have ended the battle that has gone on for nearly 10 years,” the union wrote last summer. “Despite our relentless efforts, Charter was able to operate throughout the strike.”
Ultimately, the union gave up on the strikers, many of whom struggled in lower-paying jobs or drove for Uber throughout the pandemic, according to a report in Forbes.
Describing “the unfortunate reality” that it had failed to achieve what strikers wanted — preservation of their union pension and health care plans following a merger — IBEW said in its summer statement that it no longer represented Charter’s employees in the New York City area and that it could not discuss the details of the settlement.
Last November, a group of former strikers sued IBEW for $100 million, claiming it had operated in bad faith.
2. UAW at University of California
Cumulative days idle: 1,272,000
Strike duration: Nov. 14 – Dec. 23, 2022
Workers involved: 36,000 to 48,000 members of United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2865 and Local 5810 located across California
The largest strike to take place entirely in 2022 ended in an agreement between the University of California and graduate student workers. After six weeks, the university offered them near-immediate raises ranging from 5% to 9%, with further raises in October of 16% to nearly 33%, the school says.
Additional concessions include childcare reimbursement each semester, expanded paid leave, greater fee waivers and parking equitable with other university employees.
3. UAW at CNH Industrial
Cumulative days idle: 180,000
Strike duration: May 2, 2022 – Jan. 21, 2023
Workers involved: 1,000 members of United Auto Workers (UAW) in Burlington, Iowa, and Racine, Wisconsin
A strike by workers for CNH Industrial, which makes construction equipment, ended in early 2023.
Details of the resulting agreement were kept quiet, although the company said workers had rejected an earlier offer of raises between 28% and 38% over four years. Health care and paid time off were also part of the negotiations, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
4. NUHW at Kaiser Permanente Northern California facilities
Cumulative days idle: 90,000
Strike duration: Aug. 15 – Oct. 18, 2022
Workers involved: 2,000 members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers in Northern California
Mental health therapists in Northern California went on strike against health care provider Kaiser Permanente for better pay and more time between patients that could be used for preparing documentation and planning, according to an area ABC affiliate.
Kaiser reached a four-year agreement with the workers, which it said would benefit patients “and drive collaborative efforts aimed at improving access to mental health care, while at the same time recognizing and better supporting mental health therapists in their important work.”
5. UFCW at Kroger/King Soopers
Cumulative days idle: 72,000
Strike duration: Jan. 12-25, 2022
Workers involved: 8,000 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 7 in Denver
Grocery workers seeking raises of at least $6 per hour held a two-week strike against Kroger-owned King Soopers in the Denver metro early last year.
They succeeded in securing those raises, plus protections for pension benefits and better cost-sharing of health care.
6. MFT and ESP at Minneapolis Public Schools
Cumulative days idle: 67,500
Strike duration: March 8-28, 2022
Workers involved: 4,500 members of Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) Local 59 and Education Support Professionals (ESP) in Minneapolis, Minnesota
A strike that kept more than 30,000 students out of classes for almost three weeks resulted in wage increases, caps on class size and protections for minority teachers. It was the first strike conducted by Minneapolis teachers since 1970.
7. MNA at Twin Cities Hospitals Group and others
Cumulative days idle: 45,000
Strike duration: Sept. 12-14, 2022
Workers involved: 15,000 members of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) in multiple areas of Minnesota
Nurses in Minnesota conducted a strike against several health care facilities, including hospitals run by Essentia Health and St. Luke’s, last fall over unfair labor practices related to safety and being short on staff.
Although nurses returned to work after three days believing improvements were coming, the union proposed a second strike in December over the same issues. That strike was called off after negotiations resulted in 17% and 18% pay raises.
8. CNA at Sutter Health Hospitals
Cumulative days idle: 40,000
Strike duration: April 18-22, 2022
Workers involved: 8,000 members of California Nurses Association (CNA)/National Nurses United (NNU) in Berkeley, California
Nurses held a strike against Sutter Health over worsening hospital conditions at California medical facilities. Although the April strike was relatively short, it was only a small part of a longer dispute between the company and health care workers.
Subsequent strikes were held in October and December as nurses raised concerns about workplace violence and high turnover. Negotiations continued until March 2023, when nurses secured a new agreement that included plans for recruitment and retention of staff and better safety protocols.
9. IAM at Weyerhaeuser Company
Cumulative days idle: 39,600
Strike duration: Sept. 13 – Oct. 28, 2022
Workers involved: 1,200 members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local Lodge W246 in multiple areas of Oregon and Washington
Workers conducted a strike against lumber company Weyerhaeuser after failed negotiations over pay increases and health insurance premiums. Although few details were made public, the union ended the strike after Weyerhaeuser made new concessions, local radio station KXRO reported.
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