Strikes Essay

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A strike is a concerted effort by a group of workers to withhold their labor from their employer for the purpose of effecting favorable changes in wages or working conditions, or both, or for winning employer recognition of labor union representation. Strikes can take different forms: a primary strike is a stoppage aimed at the direct employer; a sympathy strike occurs when employees refuse to work in "sympathy" with others directly involved in a dispute; and a sit-down strike happens when workers stop work and decline to leave the employer's premises in order to prevent the hiring of replacements. A wildcat strike is one that occurs without formal union authorization, and a general strike is an effort to stimulate a generalized work stoppage and has political overtones. All of the above have been common in the United States, with the exception of the politicized general strike, a technique that is most often practiced in Europe and Third World nations. A strike is a test of economic strength: the union tries to prevent operations and cause a loss of profits to the employer in order to force changes, while the employer tries to maintain profitability and resume operations as economic pressures from loss of pay mount to force workers to return to work. During the negotiations for a contract or contract renewal, unions will typically take a "strike authorization" vote to determine the will of the membership if a bargaining impasse is reached. The union will then designate a "strike deadline" beyond which it is assumed there will be a cessation of work should no agreement occur. Should that deadline pass, the strike begins with a formal authorization by the union to its members not to report for work (or, alternatively, when the employer acts preemptively for tactical reasons and declares a lockout, a refusal to allow workers on the premises, prior to that union

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