Major work stoppages idled 70,000 workers with 2.7 million lost workdays in 2006, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Although the number of workers affected by work stoppages declined from 2005, the number of workdays lost increased by an additional 1 million over the 2005 figure.
The major work stoppages series, which dates back to 1947, covers strikes and lockouts involving 1,000 or more employees and lasting at least one shift. For work stoppages that began in 2005, only days of idleness in calendar year 2006 are counted.
The total number of lockouts and strikes beginning in calendar year 2006 was 20, in contrast to 22 stoppages in 2005, with 1.7 million workdays of idleness involving 99,600 workers, the report said.
Of the 20 major work stoppages that began in 2006, 12 were in private industry and eight were in State and local governments.
In private industry, five work stoppages occurred in both manufacturing and construction, and one stoppage each in janitorial services and automotive dealerships. Of the eight work stoppages in State and local governments, four work stoppages involved municipal and county workers, two involved educational services, and one each in public transportation and health care, according to the report.
While the number of work stoppages and workers involved both declined from 2005 to 2006, the number of lost workdays rose substantially, due to the length of some work stoppages. The mean length of a work stoppage beginning in 2006 was 26.5 days, up from 20 days in 2005 and 14.6 days in 2004. The median length of a work stoppage beginning in 2006 was 10 days, up from 6 days in 2005, and 5 days in 2004.
Most work stoppages are relatively short in duration, but the mean is influenced by several long work stoppages. The longest work stoppage beginning in 2006 lasted 211 days and involved the AK Steel Corporation and the Armco Employees Independent Federation.
The largest work stoppage in terms of idleness was between Northwest Airlines and the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, with 812,100 workdays lost in 2006 and 1,183,800 workdays lost in total since the work stoppage began on August 20, 2005.
The second largest work stoppage in terms of idleness, and the largest in terms of worker participation with 12,600 employees involved, was between the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and the United Steelworkers of America, with 718,000 days idled in 2006.