Source: Jake Rosenfeld, Little Labor: How Union Decline is Changing the American Landscape (PDF).
Jake Rosenfeld compiled the data: The number of strikes involving 1,000 or more workers peaked at over 400 in 1974. In 2009, there were five. Fully one-third of the private sector workforce belonged to a labor union during the 1950s. The late 1970s and 1980s proved especially brutal for organized labor, with unionization rates halving during the period. The nation’s intellectuals and journalists covered this phenomenon extensively, linking union decline to a new post-industrial economy increasingly open to global trade. Recent trends have garnered less attention, yet private-sector unionization rates nearly halved again between 1990 and 2009. Now it’s below 7 percent.
In the rest of the world May 1 (May Day) is recognized as International Workers’ Day. In the USA, partly as a legacy of the Cold War, our government decided to call it “Loyalty Day.” May Day has traditionally been known as a day of mass workers’ strikes – otherwise known as the General Strike. And that’s what the 99 Percent Movement (aka Occupy Wall Street) is calling for today – a nationwide general strike. The theme of the protests is “A Day Without the 99 Percent.”
FireDogLake has is keeping track with a Live Blog.
America’s last general strike was in Oakland in 1946. Under the anti-labor Taft-Hartley Act, passed in 1947, general strikes were banned.
UPDATE: MAY DAY CHARTS: We Don’t Currently Reward Our Workers. While productivity has been on the rise among workers, average wage and compensation has remained nearly flat. Wages are at the lowest share of GDP on record. As union membership falls, the middle class shrinks.