We have identified over 1,100 strikes that happened since the beginning of March.
And this article examines trends is from early last year.
We saw some troubling signs in the Bureau of Labor Statistics union membership data released last month, though we made the case that they were far better than unionists expected in the wake of Janus v. AFSCME. But if there were troubling signs there, the strike statistics give unionists reason to smile.
Another key dimension separates these strikes from the large scale strikes of the 1990s: whereas those were largely defensive actions fought in manufacturing sectors under attack by offshoring and technological change, these strikes are clearly offensive actions. A manufacturing strike in the 1990s was, more often than not, fought to hold the line and avoid (often unsuccessfully) concessions and plant closures. Now, workers are using the strike weapon to advance and make gains. In an economy where profits are booming, but workers’ wallets are not, there’s no reason to believe increase labor militancy will decline in the coming year. The upward trend is clear.
What this data should tell unionists is simpler: we’re still on the upward swing, and now is the time to press our advantage. Strike waves can’t last forever; at a certain point, worker fatigue will set in and public opinion may shift. When this one starts to crest—a point which may well be years in the future, if labor presses its advantage now—where do we want our movement to be? If we use our power now, we can both build power and raise expectations for what the movement can and should achieve.
-For Ethical Politics