Reports from the Economic Front

a blog by Marty Hart-Landsberg

Chinese and U.S. Labor Activism

As previously discussed, Chinese workers are becoming increasingly organized and militant in demanding (and often winning) better pay.  Not much improvement yet in working conditions, however.

Here is a recent video on labor activism and strike coordination in China.

. . . .  

As a point of contrast, here, thanks to Left Business Observer, is the picture of U.S. strike activity.  

 strikes.jpg

As Doug Henwood explains:

The graph above shows the annual number of major strikes, as tallied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The figure for 2010 annualizes what we’ve experienced so far this year. The little uptick, from a total of 5 in 2009 to 20 in 2010, was boosted by a strike by 15,000 public sector construction workers in Chicago in July. Their strike produced 180,000 lost workdays last month, the highest total since 600,000 in October 2008. These numbers are nothing when compared to the peak of labor’s power, from the 1950s through the 1970s, when we saw as much as 60 million lost workdays a year, or 0.4% of the total number worked economy-wide (the record, set in 1959). Heck, it’s nothing compared even to 2000’s 20 million lost days, or 0.06% of the total. 

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