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Mon Jan 23, 2012, 08:31 AM

More Lockouts as Companies Battle Unions (NYT)


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/business/lockouts-once-rare-put-workers-on-the-defensive.html?_r=2


Dan Koeck for The New York Times

Workers picketed in January after a lockout in August by American Crystal Sugar, the nation's largest sugar beet processor.

By STEVEN GREENHOUSE

Published: January 22, 2012

America’s unionized workers, buffeted by layoffs and stagnating wages, face another phenomenon that is increasingly throwing them on the defensive: lockouts.

From the Cooper Tire factory in Findlay, Ohio, to a country club in Southern California and sugar beet processing plants in North Dakota, employers are turning to lockouts to press their unionized workers to grant concessions after contract negotiations deadlock. Even the New York City Opera locked out its orchestra and singers for more than a week before settling the dispute last Wednesday.

Many Americans know about the highly publicized lockouts in professional sports — like last year’s 130-day lockout by the National Football League and the 161-day lockout by the National Basketball Association — but lockouts, once a rarity, have been used in less visible industries as well.

“This is a sign of increased employer militancy,” said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University. “Lockouts were once so rare they were almost unheard of. Now, not only are employers increasingly on the offensive and trying to call the shots in bargaining, but they’re backing that up with action — in the form of lockouts.”

The number of strikes has declined to just one-sixth the annual level of two decades ago.

FULL story at link.

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