Work Stoppages Stayed Low Last Year: BLS

There were only 11 major strikes or lockouts in 2010, the second-lowest total since the agency began keeping track of them in 1947. The lowest total was five in 2009.

It's no surprise that the weak economy and high unemployment have made U.S. workers anxious and holding fast to their jobs, if they have them. New U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show how sharply this state of affairs has curtailed major strikes and lockouts.

Only 11 major strikes and lockouts involving 1,000 or more workers and lasting at least one shift occurred in 2010, which was the second-lowest annual total since BLS began tracking them in 1947. The lowest total was set in 2009, when only five major work stoppages were recorded.

BLS said the 11 major work stoppages in 2010 idled 45,000 workers for 302,000 lost workdays. In 2009, the major stoppages idled 13,000 workers for 124,000 lost workdays. Average annual major work stoppages have been on a long decline as labor union influence waned. In 2001-2010, there were approximately 17 major stoppages on average per year. There were 34 per year in 1991-2000, 69 per year in 1981-1990, and 269 per year in 1971-1980. Total days idle from major work stoppages from 2001-2010 have declined by more than 90 percent from the 1971-1980 totals.

BLS also reported recently that union members accounted for 24.2 percent of wage and salary workers in New York state and 17.1 percent in New Jersey in 2010, with New York's percentage down from 25.2 percent the year before but still the highest in the nation.

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