The strike—labor’s most powerful weapon against capital, except maybe sabotage—is disappearing even more rapidly than unions, which is saying a lot. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that there were 15 work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers in 2016. That’s 1 above the average of the past five years, and down 96% from the average of the late 1940 and 1950s.
(Stoppages include both strikes and lockouts—the data series doesn’t distinguish between the two. The overwhelming majority are strikes. Notable exceptions in recent years have been in professional sports, but in a bizarrely hostile and destructive move, Long Island University locked out its employees in September 2016. From here on, I’m using the word “strike” rather than stoppage because it sounds far better with only a minor loss of accuracy.)
As the graph below shows, the collapse in the strike began in the late 1970s, and accelerated during…
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