A Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows major U.S. strikes (1,000 workers or more) at their lowest since the Department of Labor began gathering that data in 1947. The number of major strikes fell to five in 2009.
In an upside-down economy where many are desperate for any work, the strike divide is not as clear. Replacement workers, happy to be working, are walking across the picket lines. Other reasons besides high unemployment are contributing to crossing the line. One is globalization where jobs are shifting overseas for lower labor costs. This leaves workers feeling less secure about their job stability. Strike lines are also crossed by younger workers who are not as clear about union culture and norms.
Overall, union membership is down as well. In 2009, organized labor membership was 12.3 percent, down from 20.1 percent in 1983.
What this means: employers appear to have stronger leverage in these challenging times.« Back to news