Lockouts: Not Just for Pro Sports Anymore

Americans have long been accustomed to lockouts in the context of professional sports, but this particular form of labor-management conflict has historically been quite rare in the economy at large. Steven Greenhouse reports for the New York Times, however, that there’s a new spirit of employer militancy in the air with lockouts becoming increasingly frequent as employers seek givebacks from their unionized workers.

I would add to this that the recent bankruptcies of both American Airlines and Hostess Brands are largely about management efforts to force renegotiation of existing labor agreements. Different firms are in different specific situations and thus using different tactics, but the general economic situation is one in which employers have lots of leverage over unions and the existence of a union contract no longer gives workers the kind of bargaining power it once did.