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Workers’ Changing Attitudes Tighten Labor Market

COVID has altered what job conditions, hours and pay workers are willing to accept

The phrase “labor market” doesn’t do justice to the complex relationship between workers and their jobs. Unlike ordinary goods and services, such as slabs of steel or cups of coffee, workers care about how they’re treated, and have other things to do with their time.

This has become glaringly apparent from recent events. Last week, railroad workers nearly went on strike over working conditions, such as how much time they could take off for medical needs without penalty. In Minnesota, nurses walked off the job for more pay and the right to refuse what they consider unsafe situations. In Pennsylvania, striking nursing-home workers just got a pay raise, and limits on how many residents for which a staffer must care.

All this suggests workers’ attitudes, and leverage, have shifted in important ways in recent years. The effect is to make labor scarcer and more expensive than ordinary economic indicators show.

Please select this link to read the complete article from The Wall Street Journal.

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