Business lobbyists used to express grave concern about the economic impact of strikes. Those concerns were always overstated; time lost in work stoppages has declined by 90 per cent from the 1970s. Nevertheless, companies traditionally complain that work stoppages damage sales, productivity and, of course, profits.
Recently, however, business leaders have warmed to work stoppages. In the current bargaining environment, companies (especially multinational firms) hold the best cards. And executives are increasingly willing to precipitate their own work stoppages -- through management lockouts -- to enforce demands for lower wages and benefits.