Today in Labor History: November 20
A total of 78 miners are killed in an explosion at the Consolidated Coal Company’s No. 9 mine in Farmington, W. Va. – 1968
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Member Tip: What Happens in a Strike?
Strikes are riskier than they used to be. In the past, it was pretty much par for the course that when a union needed to bring pressure to bear, it simply would “stop production”; that is, the members stopped working. As a practical matter, in a manufacturing setting this meant simply preventing Widget Company from continuing its widget production. In a service setting, the workers simply no longer provided services to customers or to the public. But as effective as strikes still can prove to be, in some industries changing technology has meant that it is increasingly difficult for unions simply to “stop production” in this way. Over the years, both private sector companies and public employers have become much more aggressive in their responses to strikes. Both have tried more and more to get rid of strikers and do what they can to continue to conduct business as usual.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer