Labor-Management Relations:

Strikes and the Use of Permanent Strike Replacements in the 1970s and 1980s

HRD-91-2: Published: Jan 18, 1991. Publicly Released: Jan 18, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed strike trends and employers' use of permanent replacements for striking workers in 1985 and 1989 to assess the need for legislation that would prohibit this practice.

GAO found that: (1) the number of work stoppages reported to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) declined sharply from 2,660 a year between 1970 and 1979 to 1,250 a year between 1980 and 1989, with the greatest decline occurring between 1979 and 1983; (2) there was little difference in employers' use of replacements in large versus small strikes; (3) many employers and union representatives involved in 1985 and 1989 strikes believed that permanent strike replacements were hired less often between 1975 and 1980 than between 1985 and 1990; and (4) in strikes reported to FMCS in 1985 and 1989, employers announced that they would hire permanent replacements in about one-third of the strikes and hired them in about 17 percent of the strikes.

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