20 Strike Sidelined 485,000 People Last Year

February 10, 2019 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Source: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images
Major strikes kept a total of nearly half a million people out of work for some period last year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics listed 20 work stoppages as major strikes.

BLS data show that the number of strikes, which it labels as “work stoppages” was at the highest level since 2007 when there were 21 events. The number of people idled was the highest since 1986 when the figure was 500,000 people.

Two industries accounted for almost all the major strikes, the BLS reports: “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.”

The two strikes which idled the most workers the longest were in Arizona and Oklahoma. The BLS reports: “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.”