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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The pace of strikes slowed when the pandemic hit. Now there are signs picket lines are bouncing back amid fresh worker angst.

  • What's new: Production has been halted at Kellogg cereal plants across America after 1,400 workers walked off the job in a bid for better benefits (and worries about job outsourcing).
  • The last time a cereal workers strike hit the company was nearly 50 years ago.

Also this week: Hollywood production workers signed off to authorize a strike over better labor conditions and higher pay.

  • There's no strike now, but the move — the first in its 128-year history — means they can call one at any time.
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Note: 2021 data year-to-date, includes Kellogg strike; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

The big picture: Workers are harder to come by, possibly giving employees more leverage for demands. That could be one reason why strikes are well below pre-pandemic levels.

  • Still, employers aren't bending all the way, causing enough of a stalemate for strikes in the first place.

What to watch: From Hollywood studios to factories, the work stoppages could threaten America’s recovery — already plagued by a shortage of stuff.

  • "My guess is Kellogg will try to bring in outside workers to start some of our lines up to keep food in their network," says Daniel Osborn, a maintenance planner at Kellogg's Omaha, Nebraska, plant, adding that might be difficult for the company. (That worker shortage again.)
  • Osborn is the local head of the national union behind the weekslong strike at Nabisco factoriesthat ended last month.

Go deeper

Hollywood union reaches deal with studios to avert strike

Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

A Hollywood workers' union reached a tentative deal with studios, networks and streamers that will guarantee better working conditions, meal breaks and increased wages for low-paid workers, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) announced Saturday night.

Why it matters: The deal, which still needs to be ratified by IATSE members, will avert a nationwide strike by film and television workers that was set to start Monday. It would have been the first strike in the union's 128-year history.

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz at the defense table during jury selection at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty on all counts for carrying out the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three staff members.

Driving the news: Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday to 17 murder counts and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting.

2 hours ago - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11

Charles Muro, 13, is inoculated at Hartford Healthcare's mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies, to administer the shots.