Major Work Stoppages (Annual) News Release
Last Modified Date: February 15, 2019
For release 10:00 a.m. (EST) Friday, February 8, 2019 USDL-19-0189
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MAJOR WORK STOPPAGES IN 2018
In 2018, there were 20 major work stoppages involving 485,000 workers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. The number of major work stoppages beginning in 2018 was the highest since
2007 (21 major work stoppages). The number of workers involved was the highest since 1986 (533,000
workers). (See www.bls.gov/web/wkstp.supp.toc.htm.)
Educational services and health care and social assistance industry groups accounted for over 90 percent
of all workers idled in 2018. Between 2009 and 2018 the educational services and health care and social
assistance industries accounted for nearly one half of all major work stoppages. (See
In 2018, the largest work stoppage by days idle was between the Arizona State Legislature and Arizona
Education Association and involved 81,000 teachers and staff totaling 486,000 days of idleness. The
second largest stoppage in 2018 involved the Oklahoma State Legislature and the Oklahoma Education
Association accounting for 405,000 days idle. Statewide major work stoppages in educational services
also occurred in West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado, and North Carolina. (See
The longest major work stoppage beginning in 2018 involved National Grid and the United Steelworkers
Locals 12003 and 12012 accounting for 156,000 days idle in the current year. The National Grid work
stoppage began on June 25, 2018 and was ongoing thru 2018. Other notable major work stoppages
beginning in 2018 involved the Marriott Corporation and the University of California Medical Centers.
Since 1981, there has been a significant reduction in the number of annual major work stoppages.
Differences between major work stoppages "beginning" and "in effect" result from disputes that are
continuing from the prior year. The largest difference occurred in 1985 with 54 major work stoppages
"beginning" in the year and 61 "in effect." The series low for major work stoppages was 5 in 2009. (See
The work stoppages program captures major (1,000 workers or more) work stoppages in the United States
from various sources. Work stoppages are strikes or lockouts and no differentiation is made between
the two classifications. The number of workers includes all workers made idle for one shift or longer
in establishments directly involved in a stoppage. The number of workers includes those who are directly
involved in the work stoppage as well as those in the establishment idled for related reasons, such as
their facility is closed down during the stoppage. One or both parties involved in the work stoppage
(employer, employer group or union) is contacted to verify the duration and number of workers idled
by the stoppage.
Annual major work stoppages data from 1947 to present, including the number of work stoppages, workers,
and total days of idleness are available at www.bls.gov/web/wkstp.supp.toc.htm.
Monthly time series data since 1981 are available at www.bls.gov/wsp/#data.
Detailed work stoppage data since 1993 are available at www.bls.gov/web/wkstp.supp.toc.htm and includes
organization(s) involved, location, beginning and ending dates, the number of workers, and total days
Historical Bureau of Labor Statistics work stoppages publications are available from 1936 to 1979 at
For additional information on the work stoppages program, including concepts, data sources, design,
measures, and history, see www.bls.gov/opub/hom/wsp/home.htm.