Signs of Union Weakness
February 16, 2004
A failed strike at Tyson Foods in Wisconsin is symbolic of how hard it is for unions to fight a large, global employer, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The strike occurred when Tyson wanted wages and benefits in Jefferson County, Wisconsin, to be consistent with what the company offers elsewhere. "In the end, it's apparent that the workers did not by and large get what they wanted out of the strike," John Heywood, director of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee human resources and labor relations program, told the Journal Sentinel. "I think that speaks to the general lesson that the strike is increasingly less viable as a tool in the current environment."
According to the Associated Press, "Tyson had sought a four-year wage freeze, a reduced wage scale for new workers, elimination of the profit-sharing plan, cuts in vacation, sick leave and pension, and less comprehensive health-care coverage. In the contract, Tyson received concessions in all those areas." Tyson did not comment on the cost of the strike.