The number of major work stoppages involving 1,000 or more strikers dropped to seven last year from 15 in 2016 -- the second lowest in Labor Department data going back to 1947. The total number of workers hitting the picket lines dropped to 25,000 last year, accounting for total of 440,000 idle days.
Last year’s biggest private sector strike, based on days idle, pitted the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers against Charter Communications, Inc., the government said. In the public sector, the largest strike was against the City of Oakland, California by the Service Employees International Union Local 1021 and the International Technical and Professional Engineers Local 21.
The lowest number of strikers was 13,000 in 2009; the highest 2.7 million in 1952, when unions wielded more bargaining power as the world rebuilt in the aftermath of World War Two. From 1963 to 1983, the total number of strikers topped 500,000 annually, peaking at about 2.5 million in 1970 and 1971, the data show.