Publication Date


Document Type


Publication Title

ILERA World Congress 2018

Conference Location

Seoul, South Korea


According to our on-line survey conducted during the Winter and Spring of 2017, between 2012-2016 the number of workers threatening to strike was 199 percent higher than the number who actually did strike according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In our analysis of 48 on-line survey respondents and 10 in depth phone interviews we found that while the number of strikes has continued on a steady decline over the past few decades, the evidence points to more workers ready and willing to strike. We call the willingness to strike, and the capacity to do so, a credible strike threat, and argue that it should be counted as strike activity. From our survey and interviews we find that the credibility of strike threats rises if the strike related activity is member rather than staff led, widely supported by the rank and file, has a significant strike fund and public support, and follows a trajectory of rising intensity. A strike threat that is credible to the employer is more likely to result in significant concessions in order to avoid the strike if the employer estimates a higher cost from a strike than settling.


Political Science