In Liverpool, U.K., hundreds of dock workers at the fifth-largest port in the country walked off the job on Tuesday, launching a two-week strike in demand of higher wages amid Britain’s ongoing cost of living crisis. The general secretary of the union representing the dock workers insisted that the workers “are on strike for one reason,” which is that “they’ve been asked to take a real terms pay cut when their employer has made a huge profit”—a yearly profit that is allegedly larger than the company’s entire wage bill. The port, located in the country’s third-largest city, is relied upon by thousands of companies, including multinational giants, and may exacerbate the pressure on an already strained global supply chain.

The dock strike in Liverpool is the first in what’s slated to be a massive wave of labor agitation sweeping across the United Kingdom—after a brief respite during Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, hundreds of thousands of British workers are set to walk off the job in the coming weeks, including more dockworkers, bus drivers, garbage collectors, airport workers, college lecturers, and rail workers, the latter of which could bring the British railways to a standstill next month.

In the latest union organizing news, employees at a Home Depot, Inc. location in Philadelphia filed a representation petition with the NLRB on Monday. Seeking to form Home Depot Workers United, the employees in the petitioned-for bargaining unit, which includes 274 merchandising, specialty, and operations associates at the store, appears to be the latest in the ongoing trend of forming so-called independent unions, in line with the recent examples of the Amazon Labor Union, Starbucks Workers United, Trader Joe’s Union, Apple Retail Union, Chipotle United, REI Union, and Geico United, to name a few.

The surge of independent union organizing is cause for excitement among those passionate about organized labor, yet some left-wing voices have remarked that the independent movement ought to prompt a moment of reckoning for the leaders of the nation’s union establishment, who in recent decades have failed to sufficiently prioritize bringing new workers into the union fold and have thus “allowed their organizing muscles to atrophy.” In any case, should Home Depot Workers United prevail in the yet-to-be scheduled NLRB election, this Philadelphia location would become the first to unionize of the world’s largest home improvement retailer’s more than 2,000 stores across the country.

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) announced on Tuesday that Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. will pay the Garden State $7.7 million to settle “alleged widespread and persistent violations” of the state’s child labor laws, pursuant to a settlement agreement concluded between the state agency and the company. The saga began with an NJDOL audit of Chipotle’s compliance with the state’s employment laws in 2020, which revealed that between September 2017 and December 2020, the company had committed more than 30,000 violations of the New Jersey Child Labor Law across its 85 locations in the state. The NJ Child Labor Law prohibits, inter alia, a company from requiring minors to work between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., more than eight hours per day and 40 hours per week, and more than six consecutive days. The not insubstantial monetary penalties will reportedly be funneled into NJDOL’s Child Labor Law Enforcement Trust Fund. The news comes on the heels of Mayor Eric Adams’ announcement just last month that the burrito giant had reached a $20 million settlement with New York City for violations of the Big Apple’s wage and hour laws, which constituted the largest worker protection settlement in the city’s history—I briefly detailed that settlement here at the time.