2016 Work Stoppages Tell a Funny Tale

In 2016, there were 15 major work stoppages, defined as either a strike or a lock out. This is an increase from 12 major work stoppages in 2015. These stoppages involved 99,000 workers (the most since 2012) and resulted in 1,543,000 days idle (the most since 2008).

In summary, there were more stoppages, involving more workers, and more missed workdays. So why is this funny? Because last year also saw a record low number of workers in unions. This confirms what I have been telling my clients and audiences – while union density is shrinking, the remaining union supporters are aggressive. Unions are agitating more than before; they are “working to rule” more than before; they are more confrontational than before, and the laws protect unions more than ever before. Labor unions know their backs are against the wall. They dusted off their playbooks from the strike-heavy 1970s.

Companies: Now is not the time for complacency. Are you prepared for a walk-out? Can you operate during even a short term strike? Do you have a strike contingency plan?

Matt Austin owns Austin Legal, LLC, a boutique law firm based in Ohio that limits its representation to employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 285-5342 or email him at Matt@MattAustinLaborLaw.com.

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