Wednesday, July 14, 2021

[NJFAC] BLS counted 8 strikes in 2020; Payday Report, 1200

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Counted Only Eight Strikes in 2020, Payday Report Counted 1,200

By Clarissa A. Leon and Mike Elk Jul 13, 2021  In the era of COVID and digital movements, strikes look radically different from traditional labor strikes

Earlier this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that 2020 was the third-lowest year for strikes in the United States since they started collecting data on strikes in 1947. The Bureau of Labor Statistics claimed that there were just eight "major work stoppages" in the US in 2020.

Payday Report's COVID-19 Strike Wave Interactive Map, launched at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, began using news and social media accounts of workers walking off the job in protest as a measure of strike activity. By this measure, the map indicates at least 1,200 strikes in 2020 as reported in news and social media reports. These labor strike activities were counted as strikes even without regard to workplace size or union authorization.

Early on in the pandemic, Payday Report began to notice a massive strike wave brewing as workers, fearful of losing their lives, simply refused to work.
Almost immediately, strikes were on the move.
In late March of 2020, hundreds of mostly Black sanitation workers in Pittsburgh, members of Teamsters Local 249, engaged in an illegal wildcat strike to protest their working conditions during the pandemic.....

While the pandemic continued, so did the strikes.
By December 2020, the number of strikes (which included walkouts, wildcat strikes, and general strikes) on Payday Report's COVID-19 Strike Wave Interactive Map reached nearly 1,200 strikes across the United States – one of the largest strike waves in decades, according to University of Wyoming Professor Mike Duff.

Still, according to the BLS, 2020 was exceptionally low. In fact, BLS said that it had the "third lowest number of major work stoppages since the series began in 1947."
The BLS narrowly defines a work stoppage using an outdated system that only recognizes actions at employers with 1,000 or more workers, and actions "must last at least one shift during the week, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays."

The stark difference between how BLS and Payday Report's COVID-19 Strike Wave Interactive Map defines a strike illustrates the giant chasm between how the government views strikes and how they are covered in the media.....

June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Network

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