According to Department of Labor reports, 2014 saw 11 strikes or lockouts involving 1,000 workers or more in 2014, resulting in 200,000 lost workdays. Additionally, the number of workers idled dropped to 34,000, down from 55,000 in 2013. Since 2009, major work stoppages have averaged 13.3 per year.
Twelve oil refineries and three petrochemical facilities have joined a nationwide strike led by the United Steelworkers (USW) amidst collective bargaining negotiations between USW and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (Shell), which is negotiating on behalf of major oil companies. While only one plant has reported a decrease in production due to the strike, the plants collectively represent 20 percent of U.S. refining capacity. The USW has rejected six contract proposals offered by Shell, ostensibly in an effort to gain improved health and safety measures for employees at U.S. refineries. The Steelworkers’ action is the first national oil worker strike in the United States since 1980, and coincides with the lowest oil prices since 2008.
SEIU Local 32BJ organized a oneday strike and rally of about 100 baggage handlers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The union alleges that Aviation Safeguards, an airport contractor, has engaged in unfair labor practices by refusing to discuss wages and working conditions and by threatening to fire workers who took part in the strike. The union, which seeks to represent the workers, also filed unfair labor practice charges against Aviation Safeguards. Whether the baggage handlers are sufficiently under the control of the airlines to fall under National Mediation Board (NMB) jurisdiction is at issue in the case. Aviation Safeguards argues that its labor relations should be handled by the NMB, not the NLRB, under the Railway Labor Act.