Category Archives: Strikes

Secondary Strikes Are Primary to Labor’s Revival

Source: Joe Burns, Labor Notes, November 4, 2010

Solidarity is the heart and soul of unionism–the only force capable of confronting power and privilege in society. To revive unionism, we must recover labor’s long-lost tools of workplace-based solidarity.
See also:
Unions Reach for Short Strikes to Stop Concessions
Source: Jenny Brown & Mischa Gaus, Labor Notes, November 2, 2010

Do Strikes Kill? Evidence from New York State

Source: Jonathan Gruber, Samuel A. Kleiner, National Bureau of Economic Research, NBER Working Paper No. 15855, March 2010
(purchase required)

From the abstract:
Concerns over the impacts of hospital strikes on patient welfare led to substantial delay in the ability of hospitals to unionize. Once allowed, hospitals unionized rapidly and now represent one of the largest union sectors of the U.S. economy. Were the original fears of harmful hospital strikes realized as a result? In this paper we analyze the effects of nurses’ strikes in hospitals on patient outcomes. We utilize a unique dataset collected on nurses’ strikes over the 1984 to 2004 period in New York State, and match these strikes to a restricted use hospital discharge database which provides information on treatment intensity, patient mortality and hospital readmission. Controlling for hospital specific heterogeneity, patient demographics and disease severity, the results show that nurses’ strikes increase in-hospital mortality by 19.4% and 30-day readmission by 6.5% for patients admitted during a strike, with little change in patient demographics, disease severity or treatment intensity. This study provides some of the first analytical evidence on the effects of health care strikes on patients, and suggests that hospitals functioning during nurses’ strikes are doing so at a lower quality of patient care.

Forty Years Since King: The Memphis Sanitation Strike

Source: James Lawson, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas, Vol. 5 no. 1, 2008
(subscription required)

April 4, 2008, marks forty years since the tumultuous battle for union rights in Memphis, in which an assassin took the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Coretta Scott King summed up her husband’s work in 1968 by saying, “He gave his life for the poor of the world, the garbage workers of Memphis and the peasants of Vietnam.” To honor and remember the importance of King and the Memphis strike, we reprint excerpts from Rev. James Lawson’s speech to the joint LAWCHA-Southwest Labor Studies Association conference held at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Illinois Workers Locked Out for Two Years after Voting in Union

Source: Gail Warner, Labor Notes, no. 365, August 2009

Two years into a strike and lockout at a small mental-health provider in central Illinois, the 40 counselors who walked out are still standing. Years of fruitless bargaining, mediation, and picketing have left the workers clamoring for binding arbitration to bring the struggle to a close. They’re campaigning for the Employee Free Choice Act, which includes an arbitration provision to resolve first-contract disputes.

Sit-down at Republic: Will it Give Labor New Legs?

Source: Roger Bybee, Dissent, Vol. 56 no. 3, Summer 2009
(subscription required)

When capital is so mobile and mobilized, you have to break out of the box,” advises longtime activist and scholar Frances Fox Piven. Breaking out of the box is precisely what a six-day sit-down strike by United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers Local 1110 did last December, producing a remarkable victory at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago. The sit-down resonated widely with the public, because it targeted Bank of America, a major bailout recipient, for its refusal to provide Republic with the funds needed to give the workers the payments due them.
See also:
Not Your Parents’ Labor Movement
Source: David Moberg, In These Times, Vol. 33 no. 8, August 2009
Why the Republic sit-in failed to inspire other worker actions.

Cyber-scabbing? Lessons for labour from the Windsor CUPE strike

Source: Jeff Noonan, Rabble News, July 10, 2009

Negotiations were scheduled to resume on Thursday, July 9, between Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 82 (outside workers) and Local 543 (inside workers) and the City of Windsor. Local 82 has been on strike since April 15. Local 543 joined the picket lines a few days later….

….It has been difficult to mobilize large scale solidarity events, and when these have been mobilized they are largely symbolic rather than extensions of the immediate struggle into the community at large. This has enabled the City to prolong the strike by more or less refusing to seriously bargain…

…Cyber-scabbing represents a novel and potentially serious threat to public sector unions. As a great deal of public sector union work is not site-specific cyber-scabbing cannot be combated in the usual manner, i.e., through mass pickets that physically prevent the scabs from accessing the shop floor…

Labor Board Limits Political Strikes

Source: Robert Schwartz, Labor Notes, October 2008

On May Day 2006, hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers walked off their jobs to protest restrictive immigration legislation. Some were fired, and brought complaints to the board. Ronald Meisburg, the National Labor Relations Board general counsel, responded by posting a directive on “political advocacy” this July that enables bosses to immediately fire employees who participate in work stoppages of a political nature.
Political Strike at WV Mine

The Detroit Newspaper Strike: A Template for Employers on Preparing for and Operating During a Labor Strike

Source: John A. Taylor, Labor Law Journal, Vol. 59 no. 2, Summer 2008

…In reality, the strike, dubbed by some as “the strike to end all newspaper strikes” was doomed from the moment the unions, without adequate planning and preparation, launched their ill-fated walk out.

The unions’ lack of preparedness stands in sharp contrast to the extensive planning and preparation the employers engaged in for at least three years leading up to the strike. So extensive were the employers’ strike plans that even such details as researching “ways to fill vending machines and get hot meals for round-the-clock workers in case of a walkout” were carefully thought out…