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Major strikes, lockouts becoming less frequent

| Friday, Feb. 9, 2018, 12:30 p.m.
Members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties picket on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, in Indiana. The statewide strike was one of two major work stoppages in Pennsylvania in 2016. The other was a transit worker strike in Philadelphia. There were no major work stoppages in the state in 2017 and only seven nationwide, the second lowest count since 1947.
Barry Reeger | For The Tribune-Review
Members of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties picket on the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, in Indiana. The statewide strike was one of two major work stoppages in Pennsylvania in 2016. The other was a transit worker strike in Philadelphia. There were no major work stoppages in the state in 2017 and only seven nationwide, the second lowest count since 1947.

Once a regular feature of American life, strikes and lockouts affecting more than 1,000 workers have dwindled in the past three decades, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were seven major work stoppages in 2017, the second lowest number since the agency started tracking the events in 1947. The seven strikes or lockouts affected about 25,000 workers.

The record starts with 270 stoppages in 1947 that affected about 1.6 million workers. Major work stoppages peaked in 1952 when 470 strikes and lockouts affected about 2.7 million workers.

The number seesawed back and forth through the 1970s and then started a steep decline. The number of stoppages fell to double digits in 1982 and kept dropping. They bottomed out in 2009 when five stoppages affected about 13,000 workers. Since then, they've ranged between 11 and 19 stoppages per year until 2017.

Pennsylvania didn't see any major work stoppages in 2017. It had two major stoppages in 2016, according to the agency's data.

A three-day strike by the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties affected 5,100 workers. A seven-day strike by the Transport Workers Union, Local 234, in Philadelphia affected 5,200 workers.

There were a total of 15 major work stoppages affecting about 99,000 workers nationwide in 2016.

Brian Bowling is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-1218, bbowling@tribweb.com or via Twitter @TribBrian.

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