While strikes and work stoppages have always been a part of the union life, there have been more and more examples of this happening with employees who are not in a union. As it pertains to the private sector, workers have the right to engage in these legally protected activities. In healthcare, there has to be a 10 day notice served. Most unions are quick to say they strike very infrequently and this may or may not be true. If true, that would may indicate a very weak union work force. Strikes are the only weapon a union has.
While workers may feel a sense of power by engaging in a strike or work stoppage, there are significant implications to engagement in these actions. Almost 100% of strikes are economic strikes, which means that the employer can permanently replace workers. There has never been an economic strike ending where employees get what they lost during the strike.
Here is what is at risk during a strike or work stoppage:
- No money
- Health benefits stop after the end of the month
- You have to do strike duty – this means you have to stand on the sidewalk and picket and protest however many hours per day as your shift was
- No unemployment during a strike except in Hawaii and in NY (after your 7th week on strike)
- Is there a strike fund (sometimes yes and sometimes no- the most amount of strike pay for a few unions is $100 per week at most)
- Still have to pay dues while on strike
- Can you cross the picket line ? No, the union fines you or pickets your house and you get expelled from the union.
As labor experts, we prevent this type of conflict before it happens. We ensure our clients have positive employee engagement regardless if the union is present. Please contact us for any type of strike prevention, strike resolution or conflict resolution.