Working class disarmed, Canadian redux

Looking at the prevalence of strikes in the US over the past six decades, Doug Henwood writes,

Second Amendment fetishism aside, there’s an old saying that the working class’s ultimate weapon is withholding labor through slowdowns and strikes. By that measure, the U.S. working class has been effectively disarmed since the 1980s.

Doug then produces a graph showing a precipitous decline in the number of strikes in the US involving more than 1000 workers starting about three decades ago. Intrigued, two thoughts quickly crossed my mind. First, as is often the case, I wanted to see whether the same trend holds for Canada. Second, I was curious whether the decline had anything to do with the large scale of the strikes in the data Doug used.

Sure enough, the conclusions are (sadly) the expected ones: Canada exhibits the same trend and shows it to be one that is independent of the number of employees striking or locked out.

Figure 1. Work stoppages relative to employment: the number of person-days of work lost to stoppages (strikes and lockouts) divided by total employment. Source: CANSIM, FRED and BLS.
Figure 1. Work stoppages relative to employment: the number of person-days of work lost to stoppages (strikes and lockouts) divided by total employment. Source: CANSIM, FRED and BLS.

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