When Is a Labor Strike Legal and Illegal
However, employers have been reluctant to hire replacement workers during the wave of strikes in recent years. The wave of social unrest has become a defining feature of the economy since the Great Recession of 2008. In 2018, a record number of employees went on strike: teachers, hotel workers, healthcare workers – even Google employees. Most were angry about stagnant wages and proposed benefit cuts, but some were simply frustrated with the company`s policy. The right of public employees to strike depends on the laws of your respective state. Currently, only 11 states allow public sector employees to strike, while the remaining 39 prohibit it. Note that the terms of a collective agreement between the employer and the union may restrict or prohibit a union`s right to participate in an economic strike. In order for a strike to take place, a union or group of workers enters into negotiations with an employer. The threat of strike action is the main weapon at workers` disposal – essentially, workers will stop work if their collective demands are not met. For a strike to take place, the union leadership must call a strike, which can only take place if enough union members have voted in favour of the strike. Each union has rules that dictate what percentage of workers must vote for a strike to take place. Once workers go on strike and stop coming to work, the company could close and experience financial hardship, putting pressure on the employer and giving workers influence over negotiations.
Article 7 of the National Industrial Relations Act provides, inter alia: “Workers have the right. participate in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual assistance or protection. Strikes are one of the concerted activities protected by this article for workers. Article 13 also concerns the right to strike. One law professor pointed out that a strike to protest government inaction, for example because of climate change, is not protected by federal labor law because it is not related to an employee`s working conditions. But if workers go on strike because they believe their employer (like Amazon, for example) isn`t doing enough to make the business sustainable, it would likely be a protected work stoppage. Typically, strikes arise from economic grievances or disagreements, including those over wages, hours of work, leave, wage increases, promotions, health benefits and pension benefits. Strikes can also result from allegations of unsafe working conditions or unfair labor practices that violate state or federal labor laws. The same applies – strike at the end of the contract period. Article 8(d) provides that if a party wishes to terminate or amend an existing agreement, it must comply with certain conditions. If these conditions are not met, a strike to terminate or modify a contract is illegal and the participating strikers lose their status as employees of the employer involved in the labour dispute.
However, if the strike was caused by the employer`s unfair labour practices, the strikers are classified as unjust labour practices strikers and their status is not affected by the failure to follow the required procedure. The right of a unionized worker to be reinstated after the end of a strike depends on the nature of the strike and the underlying reason for the strike. Employers are allowed to hire replacement workers during unfair labour practices and economic strikes. An employer could easily dismiss workers for participating in illegal strikes. Most employers insist that unions accept no-strike clauses that stipulate that workers do not strike for the duration of an employment contract. These types of provisions essentially prohibit all strikes during the term of the contract, except those resulting from exceptionally dangerous working conditions. There is no strike clause that makes “wildcat strikes” – strikes sanctioned by the unions – illegal. Of course, workers are free to strike again after the contract expires. (i) dismiss or otherwise treat an employee because he or she is a member of a trade union, attempted to join or organize a trade union, or took justified action by a trade union; or making employment conditional on the employee not joining or leaving a union. However, if a union represents the majority of workers employed in a particular plant or establishment, this does not preclude an employer from entering into a collective agreement requiring workers to be members of such a union as a condition of employment; Taken together, the NLRA`s provisions guarantee the right to strike, but also limit and shape the scope of that right. The legality of a strike may depend in part on the objectives of the strike, the timing of the strike and the behaviour of the strikers during the strike.