Strike patterns

A curious observation was noted in an article on the BBC News website yesterday.

It doesn't concern strike statistics as today's post title may suggest on first reading; it actually concerns what strikers from the USA do when picketing.

Specifically, rather than huddling around the fire on a rusty brazier, as is common in the UK, picketers in the USA have a habit of walking in orderly circles - see this clip to fully comprehend what it looks like in real life.

Why picketers protest in this manner is also explored in the article.

One explanation is provided by Sherry Goldman, spokeswoman for the Writers Guild of America - picketers walk back and forth because they are picketing a company, so they walk up and down in front of the entrance and because entrances to company premises can be quite wide, people have to cover quite large distances.

A more plausible explanation takes a legal angle on picketing in the USA - Pete Hoefer, who teaches at the National Labor College in Maryland, believes such patterns relate to complying with laws existing at state level that prohibit blocking entry and exit to buildings.

Whatever the truth may be, it has certainly adds an interesting dimension to the rituals associated with organized protest.

See Why do US pickets walk in circles? for more details.



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