Strikes and Resignations

Activists, academics, and union reps probe labor's response to COVID capitalism and workplace inequities

Roundtable Speakers

Kate Bahn, Director of Labor Market Policy and Chief Economist, Equitable Growth

John "Buzz" Moyer, Camera Operator and Steadicam Operator, IATSE 600

Jason Tomlinson, Advancing Black Strategists Initiative Coordinator, Jobs With Justice Educational Fund

Shaianne Oesterreich, moderator

The Cracks of Capitalism


The continuing pandemic has exposed all of capitalism’s seams and cracks.

Despite the phantasmatics of cybercapitalism conjuring a smooth conflict-free world of workers parked in front of computers alone at home, people still labor in the material world.

COVID has reorganized labor relations. Some workers have gone on strike. Others have joined “the great resignation,” seeking a better life.

Workers everywhere are  thinking about their financial compensation and their working conditions under COVID. And whether their jobs are worth their health and their sanity and their dignity.

Strikes and threats of strikes over working conditions during COVID multiply daily:  nurses, nursing home aides, IATSE, graduate students,  John Deere, Kellogg, teachers, and on and on across many different sectors.

Workers with means are quitting their jobs to reprioritize what matters in life.

Because they are underpaid and not protected from COVID, front-line workers across a range of industries are fighting back, protesting, arguing, and marching.  The gender and racial gaps for essential workers in health care and education amplify inequities.

But hope rises:  in some areas, workers are taking back their power with union drives, strikes, and demands for a better work life.



Kate Bahn is the director of labor market policy and chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Her areas of research include gender, race, and ethnicity in the labor market, care work, and monopsonistic labor markets.

Previously, she was an economist at the Center for American Progress. Bahn also served as the executive vice president and secretary for the International Association for Feminist Economics. Bahn received her Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research and her B.A. from Hampshire College.


John “Buzz” Moyer, a Camera Operator and Steadicam Operator, is a member of IATSE 600 (formerly 644). He has shot over seventy feature-length films including: 2 Fast 2 Furious, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Rocky Balboa, Norbit, Jack Reacher, Steven Spielberg’s The Post and West Side Story, Red Notice, The White Lotus, and The Tender Bar.  For his complete filmography, check out IMDB 

Moyer is committed to mentoring early career media craftspeople. A member of the Society of Camera Operators (SOC),  he serves on the Board of Governors, nominating committee, and education committee. He mentors early career and newly invested Steadicam Operators with the Steadicam Operators Association.. He graduated with a BS in Cinema and Photography from Ithaca College in 1986.


Jason Tomlinson is the coordinator for the Advancing Black Strategist Initiative in the research department of Jobs With Justice Education Fund. Jason also coordinates the Labor Research and Action Network (LRAN), bringing together scholars and practitioners to build workplace and economic power for working people. 

He joined the Jobs With Justice network in 2017 in Dallas, Texas, where he directed the programmatic arm of Texas New Era Center as the Director of Programs and served as the convener of a coalition of community organizations such as the Texas Organizing Project, Workers Defense Project, Planned Parenthood, Alliance/ American Federation of Teachers Union, Faith in Texas, and the Dallas AFL-CIO.  He spearheaded Texas New Era Center’s flagship program, Project Phoenix, which helps first- time non-violent criminal offenders secure union jobs to break the cycle of poverty. Jason holds a master’s degree in Software Engineering from Stratford University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington.