Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

What is a work stoppage?

A work stoppage is a strike or a lockout.

What is a strike?

A strike is a temporary stoppage of work by a group of workers (not necessarily union members) to express a grievance or enforce a demand. A strike is initiated by the workers of an establishment.

What is a lockout?

A lockout is a temporary withholding or denial of employment during a labor dispute in order to enforce terms of employment upon a group of employees. A lockout is initiated by the management of an establishment.

What data does the BLS supply on work stoppages?

The Work Stoppages program provides monthly and annual data and analysis of major work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers lasting one full shift or longer.

The monthly and annual data show the establishment and union(s) involved in the work stoppage along with the location, the number of workers, and the days of idleness. The monthly data lists all work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers that occurred during the full calendar month for each month of the year. The annual data provides statistics, analysis and details of each work stoppage of 1,000 or more workers that occurred during the year.

What are the differences or similarities between the BLS work stoppages and the BLS strike report?

The work stoppages program reference period is the entire calendar month whereas the strike report reference period is the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. The BLS strike report includes strikes that cover 1,000 or more workers, the same as the work stoppages program.

How are "work days" defined?

Work days are defined as the weekdays Monday through Friday excluding Federal holidays.

How are "days idle this month" defined?

The term "days idled this month" is the total number of working days lost during the work stoppage in the month multiplied by the number of workers participating in the work stoppage.

How are "days idle, cumulative" defined?

"Days idle, cumulative" is the total number of working days lost multiplied by the number of workers occurring over the entire span of the work stoppage, often over a period of months.

Where do I find data on work stoppages with less than 1,000 workers?

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service issues a monthly report showing all work stoppages. The data are available at

How can I get historical information?

The BLS has data available from 1993 to the present for major work stoppages involving 1,000 or more workers. A worksheet containing these data is available here:

Limited data back to 1947 are included in Table 1 of the annual work stoppages news release; see and

How are the data collected?

The work stoppages data are gathered from public news sources, such as newspapers and the Internet.

Do you have foreign work stoppage information?

No, the BLS does not publish foreign work stoppage statistics.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) publishes foreign work stoppage statistics. Data are available from the ILO at


Last Modified Date: July 24, 2015