Work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers, 1947-2013 (US)

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DigitalBluster's picture
DigitalBluster
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Jun 12 2014 15:17
Work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers, 1947-2013 (US)

I made a graph, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (United States Department of Labor), which I'll post below in case anyone might find it useful:

(Source)

Chilli Sauce's picture
Chilli Sauce
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Jun 12 2014 16:06

That is pretty shocking I have to say.

No surprise what happened in the early 80s, but I have to say I find the late 50s/early 60s drop a bit more interesting. My sense, although I don't have much to back it up, is that that drop would have continued if not for the surge of civil rights struggles and labor struggles that came off the back of them (public sector unionization, etc).

Have you seen this?

http://libcom.org/blog/charting-class-struggle-23062011

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DigitalBluster
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Jun 12 2014 18:13

That link is very interesting, thanks.

I haven't tried correlating the above graph with any other data, but it's obviously interesting that the post-70s plunge coincides with the flattening of real wages, which until then had remained roughly parallel with ever-rising productivity.

I'm not sure what to make of the earlier half of the graph. Your sense may be correct; it probably is. One thing worth noting, I think, is that the 1950s are often called the "Golden Age of Capitalism," and we see that large work-stoppages were many times higher then than now -- at times an order of magnitude higher.

These two opposite phenomena -- a "golden age" of wages coinciding with relatively high struggle, versus a relative dark age of wages coinciding with a precipitous lull in such struggle -- seem difficult to dismiss as mere coincidence.

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Steven.
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Jun 12 2014 18:24

Interesting stuff, thanks. I wonder what that would also look like plotted against employment in manufacturing in the US. Because I bet a lot of strikes of upwards of 1000 workers were at factories. And with increasing automation/outsourcing I bet the number of workplaces with 1000+ workers reduced dramatically in the late 70s/80s etc

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Jun 13 2014 04:28

Yes, that's an excellent point.