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5 Ways Labor Stoppages Can Cost You

Strikes might lead to progress, but they come at a price

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Walmart (NYSE:WMT), the big dog of big-box retail, made headlines heading into Thanksgiving weekend when workers walked off the job to protest a Thursday-night Black Friday opening.

The holiday walk-off was just part of a bigger picture, though. As we’ve worked our way out from under the weight of the recession, the disparity in worker compensation and corporate profit has widened — and the number of labor strikes has grown.

In 2009, there were only five major work stoppages, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That more than doubled in 2010 when there were 11 — a number we’ve reached already this year. In 2011, the total came in at 19 stoppages, which idled 113,000 worked for 1.02 million lost workdays.

Of course, it’s not always just hours and workdays lost; strikes can be costly in several different ways. Let’s take a look at the costs of five recent labor stoppages:

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