Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Do you know what to do if employees strike?

Labor strikes by employees were up a shocking 52 percent in 2022 as compared to 2021. That's according to Cornell-ILR Labor Action Tracker Annual Report. Employee collective work stoppages are on the rise, and there is no indication of them abating any time soon.

Do you know what to do if your employees walk off the job? Here are 10 dos and don'ts.

1.) DO call your labor lawyer. Legal strikes come in two flavors — economic strikes (in response to complaints about wages, hours, or other work conditions and unfair labor practice strikes (in protest of an employer's alleged unfair labor practices). The law differentiates in some key ways between the two in how you can respond. You need to know what you can and cannot legally do to prevent making an already bad situation worse.

2.) DON'T retaliate against striking workers. 

3.) DO hold striking employees accountable for their own serious misconduct such as threats, violence, or vandalism. 

4.) DON'T make any promises to entice employees to abandon their jobs and return to work.

5.) DO prohibit your managers and supervisors from joining their subordinates on the picket line. The NLRA does not protect managers and supervisors; you can lawfully prohibit them from walking off the job in solidarity and discipline them if they do.

6.) DO stop paying striking employees. They're not working so why pay them.

7.) DON'T replace employees out on an unfair labor practice strike. That's an unfair labor practice in and of itself.

8.) DO consider permanently replacing employees out on an economic strike.

9.) DO seek a restraining order in court to limit violence, threats, vandalism, and disruptive picketing, if necessary.

10.) DO call your labor lawyer. (Did I say that already?)