Report: 2009 had fewest major U.S. work stoppages since 1947

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In 2009, there were five major strikes and lockouts involving 1,000 or more workers, the lowest number since the major work stoppages series began in 1947, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on February 10.

The prior low for major work stoppages beginning in a calendar year was 14 in 2003. The five major work stoppages in 2009 idled 13,000 workers for 124,000 lost workdays, both record lows, and a large decrease compared to 2008 with 15 stoppages idling 72,000 workers for 1.95 million lost workdays.

Since 2007, the number of major work stoppages and the number of employees involved in major work stoppages have fallen sharply. Average annual major work stoppages have continued to decline. From 2000 to 2009, there were approximately 20 major work stoppages on average per year, compared with 35 per year from 1990 to 1999 and 83 from 1980 to 1989.

The largest work stoppage in 2009 in terms of number of days and total workdays idle was between Bell Helicopter Textron and the United Auto Workers Local 218, lasting 27 workdays with 2,500 workers accounting for 67,500 lost workdays. The largest work stoppage beginning in 2009 in terms of number of workers was between the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and the Transport Workers Union Local 234 with 5,500 workers involved in the work stoppage.

The major work stoppages series, which dates back to 1947, covers strikes and lockouts involving 1,000 or more employees and lasting at least one shift.

Note: The term “major work stoppage” includes both worker-initiated strikes and employer-initiated lockouts that involve 1,000 workers or more. BLS does not distinguish between lockouts and strikes in its statistics.

Read the full report and view all of the data tables by clicking on the link below:

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