In 2018, there were 20 major work stoppages involving 485,000 workers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of major work stoppages beginning in 2018 was the highest since 2007 (21 major work stoppages). The number of workers involved was the highest since 1986 (533,000 workers). (See http://www.bls.gov/web/wkstp.supp.toc.htm.)
Educational services and health care and social assistance industry groups accounted for over 90 percent of all workers idled in 2018. Between 2009 and 2018 the educational services and health care and social assistance industries accounted for nearly one half of all major work stoppages (See http://www.bls.gov/web/wkstp.supp.toc.htm.)
In 2018, the largest work stoppage by days idle was between the Arizona State Legislation and Arizona Education Association and involved 81,000 teachers and staff totaling 486,000 days of idleness. The second largest stoppage in 2018 involved the Oklahoma State Legislature and the Oklahoma Education Association accounting for 405,000 days idle. Statewide major work stoppages in educational services also occurred in West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado, and North Carolina. (See http://www.bls.gov/web/wkstp.supp.toc.htm.)
The longest major work stoppage beginning in 2018 involved National Grid and the United Steelworkers Locals 12003 and 12012 accounting for 156,000 days idle in the current year. The National Grid work stoppage began on June 25, 2018 and was ongoing thru 2018. Other notable major work stoppages beginning in 2018 involved the Marriott Corporation and the University of California Medical Centers.
Since 1981, there has been a significant reduction in the number of annual major work stoppages. Differences between major work stoppages “beginning” and “in effect” result from disputes that are continuing from the prior year. The largest difference occurred in 1985 with 54 major work stoppages “beginning” in the year and 61 “in effect.” The series low for major work stoppages was 5 in 2009. (See http://www.bls.gov/web/wkstp.supp.toc.htm.)
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Of course a reported 800,000 federal workers were furloughed or went unpaid during the recent Trump/Pence Administration shut down of the government, the longest in history at 35 days. That does not count the reported 4 million government contractors who were also affected with many of those workers filing for unemployment insurance. Cost of the shutdown? According to the Congressional Budget Office was $18 billion ($3 billion of which is unrecoverable). https://www.cbo.gov/publication/54937