Big Contracts Face Renewal in 2001 That Will Test the Muscle of Unions ; If Economy Slows, the Number of Strikes Is Likely to Decline as Workers Lose Leverage

By Cowen, Tricia | The Christian Science Monitor, January 3, 2001 | Go to article overview

Big Contracts Face Renewal in 2001 That Will Test the Muscle of Unions ; If Economy Slows, the Number of Strikes Is Likely to Decline as Workers Lose Leverage


Cowen, Tricia, The Christian Science Monitor


After a seven-week strike - some of it involving picketing in sub- zero temperatures - Emil Fritz is glad to be back at work.

Union leaders "got what they were asking for - better wages for new hirees and the guaranteed health benefits," says Mr. Fritz, a worker at Olin Corp., a maker of copper alloys, ammunition, and chemicals here in East Alton, Ill.

Their apparent victory is a sign that despite the United States' cooling economy, strikes remain a potent weapon for organized labor. Already on the rebound in the past year, strikes could play a role in several huge contracts due to be negotiated this year, disrupting everything from airline flights to TV schedules. Whether they do depends, in large part, on the job market in the coming months.

Leverage index

If a recession boosts unemployment, union workers won't readily walk off their jobs, fearing others would take them, labor experts say.

But if the economy merely slows to a more moderate pace, unemployment should stay low and allow unions to press their advantage in a tight labor market.

"It's been so incredibly tight up to this point that even a slight loosening may still leave us with mostly full employment," says James Brock, an economics professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

"There might be some more strikes because workers feel some greater insecurity," adds Gary Chaison, professor of labor relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. "They may feel concerned enough that they increase their militancy in bargaining."

Although union power and militancy have declined dramatically since the 1950s and '60s, strike activity has rebounded somewhat in the past year. It's not that the US has necessarily seen more strikes, but the work stoppages that do occur last longer and involve more workers.

Through July of 2000 (the latest figures available), the number of workers involved in major strikes (those involving 1,000 workers or more) jumped five times from the same period in 1999, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Worker days lost to strikes reached the highest level since at least 1989.

Last year was marked by several high-profile walkouts, including ones against telecommunications giant Verizon and Los Angeles County. Such well-publicized strikes "embolden other workers because of their success," says Mr. Chaison of Clark University.

Big contracts up for renewal

This year, more big contracts in high-profile industries will come due, according to the Bureau of National Affairs, a private news organization based in Washington. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Big Contracts Face Renewal in 2001 That Will Test the Muscle of Unions ; If Economy Slows, the Number of Strikes Is Likely to Decline as Workers Lose Leverage
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.