It has been an eventful year in labor relations: attacks on the NLRB, controversial ballot initiatives, strikes at Hostess and elsewhere, and, most recently, an attempt to push through controversial right-to-work legislation in Michigan. But to me, the most striking trend (sorry for the pun) is the continued heightened use of lockouts. A lockout is an employer-initiated work stoppage that stems from a failure to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement. Unlike a strike, locked out workers cannot be permanently replaced so they are entitled to their jobs when the lockout ends. Being able to use permanent strike replacements had been seen as a major employer advantage, so why the increase in lockouts? It comes to down to means, motive, and opportunity.