Matt Darling and Will Raderman wrote this piece on major work stoppages in The Hill on March 10, 2022. Read the full piece here.
Everyone from Robert Reich to Jorts the Cat has declared a resurgence of union activity. Developments such as Kellogg’s workers successfully demanding a new labor deal and a John Deere strike resulting in an across-the-board eight percent wage increase led to the viral hashtag #Striketober, catching the attention of politicians like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.). But these developments are fairly isolated incidents amidst a chronic decline of union power. This incorrect narrative of resurgence is hampering efforts to build up worker power.
Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released numbers summarizing 2021’s total number of major work stoppages. In all, there were 16 major stoppages collectively involving a total of 80,700 workers. This may sound like a lot—but in fact, it isn’t. For example, in 2018 and 2019, workers in major stoppages exceeded 400,000, respectively — five times the current number. Before 1980, over a million workers engaged in work stoppages annually.
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