After more than 2 years of COVID-19 crisis, young workers have been and continue to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic’s economic consequences. Young workers have faced mass redundancies, decreased working hours and in many cases dangerous or unhealthy working conditions caused by the virus itself. The more recent challenge of inflation also disproportionately affects young workers as prices increase including housing costs which they can barely afford with their low wages and precarious working conditions.
Given these conditions and the accelerating climate crisis, we can take inspiration from this generation’s commitment to assert its power, in particular through its commitment to organizing. Young workers are now leading a rarely seen surge of union organizing efforts including the much-celebrated efforts of the Starbucks workers in the USA. Despite Starbucks’ union-busting efforts, including their threats to remove healthcare provisions for trans workers, young LGBTI Starbucks workers have pushed back and are winning, an important example of solidarity and intersectionality in the labour movement.
Young workers across many IUF sectors have historically been underorganized. We are seeing this trend beginning to shift, and we must continue to challenge it more. And so, on August 12, International Youth Day, we champion this year’s theme: “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a world for all ages.” Together, young and old, straight and LGBTI, migrant and indigenous, women, men and non-binary workers, we must fertilize the growing movements to create a fairer, more equitable, and ecologically sustainable future.
We do this by organizing and fighting for our rights together and by supporting and listening to each other.