Union-related workplace disruptions spiked in 2022 even as fewer workers identify as union members, a consequence of Big Labor’s empowerment under the self-declared “most pro-union administration in American history.”
A report released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that 2022 saw the start of 23 “major work stoppages,” defined as strikes and other labor disputes involving the idling of more than 1,000 workers. This represents a 44 percent increase in major work stoppages since 2021, when there were just 16 new incidents.
The 2022 statistic is the second highest in two decades and also sits 44 percent higher than the annual average over the previous two decades, which is 16.
More than 120,000 workers were involved in major work stoppages in 2022, 98 percent of which were in service industries. The educational and health service sectors alone accounted for 88 percent of the idled workers. Further, 57 percent of the idled workers were employed in the public sector, which faces significantly higher rates of unionization than the private sector.
Despite the sharp increase in labor disruptions last year, an earlier BLS report indicated that union membership as a percentage of all workers fell to a record low in 2022.
As part of data collected for the Current Population Survey, BLS found that just 10.1 percent of wage and salary workers in 2022 were members of labor unions, down from 10.3 percent in 2021. The union membership rate in the public sector fell from 33.9 percent in 2021 to 33.1 percent in 2022, while the private-sector rate fell from 6.1 percent to 6.0 percent.
This disconnect between the falling prevalence of union membership among workers and the rising number of union-related labor disruptions is no coincidence. President Biden himself announced his intention to be “the most pro-union President leading the most pro-union administration in American history,” a goal he has pursued through several initiatives that empower union bosses at the expense of workers.
At a time when fewer and fewer workers are voluntarily joining labor unions, Biden and congressional Democrats are pushing forward with the job-killing PRO Act, which would strip workers of their ability to choose by overturning all state-level Right to Work laws. The PRO Act would also fulfill the wishes of Big Labor bosses by ending secret ballot elections at many workplaces, making union intimidation easier, and streamlining union election timelines.
By voting with their feet, workers are making clear that they desire more independence and less control by union bosses. The right to choose––and the stability of U.S. workplaces––must be protected under the law.