NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Labor Actions Decline

June 5, 1998

Whether because of the strong economy or the declining number of union workers, labor relations have improved, observers report. Consequently, a record low level of strike activity is anticipated this year.

  • Last year, the number of walkouts involving 1,000 or more workers dropped to a record low of 29.
  • Experts say that in decades past, 300 or more such strikes a year were common.
  • Analysts point out that union members accounted for just 9.8 percent of private-sector workers last year -- compared with about 15 percent in 1983.
  • But last year unions won 50.4 percent of organizing elections -- a slight increase from the previous year.

Observers say businesses have an incentive to settle contract discussions prior to a strike when business is good. Companies can afford to pay somewhat more and have a lot to lose if strikes shut down operations when sales are climbing.

Source: Laura M. Litvan, "Did U.P.S. Strike Spur Big Labor?" Investor's Business Daily, June 5, 1998.


Browse more articles on Economic Issues