A 1969 graduate of the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, and holding an MA in political science from Columbia University, Eileen B. Hoffman is an Associate Specialist in Labor Relations Research on the staff of The Conference Board.
All countries have experienced industrial conflict. Yet a look at the postwar strike record of the nine countries in this survey indicates a considerable range of frequency and intensity of work stoppages. In Sweden and Germany the number of strikes and working days lost because of strike activity has been low, while in Italy it has been high. In the middle range have been the United States, Australia, Israel, Britain, Japan, and Argentina.
There is no single definition of a labor dispute—each country looks at the aims of the dispute, the methods used to resolve it, and the type of worker involved. For the purposes of this study a labor dispute is defined as: a confrontation or grievance between labor and management of such intensity that it would result in a strike if steps were not taken to resolve it.
The major types of disputes are economic—those aimed at determining wages, hours, and other conditions of employment; and noneconomic—those concerning the interpretation of a collective agreement, union jurisdiction, union recognition, and sometimes political decisions made by the state.