Super Sized Strikes: Nonunion Strikes Can Burn Unprepared Employers

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Post on 13-May-2015




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Growing waves of protests over wages and other employment issues at fast food and retail companies are labor unions newest way to organize an untapped segment of American workers. Although strikes are often associated with labor unions, the workers involved in these strikes are not unionized yet. Employers without unionized workforces can sometimes fall into a trap by disciplining or discharging employees who are engaged in protected, concerted activities. For employers, an ounce of protection is truly worth a pound of cure. Click through the webinar presentation to learn about the recent strikes, why they are occurring, and how to lawfully confront such activities before, during and after.


  • 1. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP

2. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP Agenda Update on recent strike/picketing activity Why is this happening? How is this happening? What can be done before it happens? What can be done while it is happening? What cannot be done either before during or after it happens? 3. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP Update on Recent Activity Black Friday Strikes in 2012 at Target, Walmart and others to protest working on holidays. Strikes at Walmart over the course of 2012 and 2013 ruled unlawful recognitional picketing by the NLRB and a settlement was reached. 2013 Fast food strikes started in New York and then spread to Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit, Milwaukee, Washington D.C. and Seattle. Repeat strikes in Washington D.C. in June of 2013. Lobbying efforts for higher living wage ordinances. 4. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP 5. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP Who is Organizing the Strikes? Community leaders Religious leaders SEIU, UFCW, AFL-CIO, Change to Win 6. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP "We are not going to rebuild the labor movement solely through elections and voluntary recognition by employers, no matter how smart and strategic our campaigns," "The AFL-CIOs door has to be -- and will be -- open to any worker or group of workers who wants to organize and build power in the workplace. Richard Trumka, President AFL-CIO, March 2013 7. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP Why This is Happening? Unions now represent less than 7% of private sector workers. Unions have lost their base membership as manufacturing jobs have moved overseas, or to the South. Unions need a new base of membership and the service industry is the main target because the jobs cannot be outsourced. 8. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP Why This is Happening (contd) Unions have struggled to organize fast food workers due to any or all of the following: High turnover among employees Low wages = low dues payments Low wages = employees cannot afford to give money out of their check to a union If the strikes succeed in winning wage improvements the Unions can build on the success and seek to organize. 9. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP Why This is Happening (contd) Strikes create buzz and tap into the idea of corporate greed at the expense of the poor and uneducated. The strikes are a logical extension of the occupy Wall Street movement. Media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post and MSNBC are continuing to cover the story and give it life. 10. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP How Can This Happen? Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act gives most every private sector employee the right to engage in concerted activities aid or protection. Accordingly, all employees have the right to act in concert for their mutual aid and that action can take the form of a strike. 11. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP What Can be Done Now to Prepare? Create a strike plan How will you staff? Corporate response team? Management? Management from surrounding area? Draft Press statements Coordinate with delivery companies Contact with local law enforcement regarding safety concerns over ingress and egress/noise ordinances Define property rights as property owner/lease holder Train management staff on how to handle, how to communicate with staff regarding strike issues, etc. Communicate with staff regarding stance on unions, strikes, and our pro-employee/associate philosophy 12. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP What Can You do During a Strike? Continue to operate Tell employees you hope they continue to work Hire replacements Staff with management from other locations Use management at that location Enforce your property rights Enlist help from law enforcement to protect the public and enforce any noise ordinances 13. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP What Can You NOT Do? Discipline employees for engaging in the strike Threaten to discipline employees to prevent them from engaging in the strike Ask employees if they are going to strike or if others are going to strike Photograph or video employees engaged in the strikes unless it is to document property damage or safety issues. 14. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP What is Recognitional Picketing? Picketing where an object is to organize the employees. Such an object can be determined in a number of ways. Can picket for 30-days but then a petition must be filed. This is how Walmart obtained the following from the UFCW 15. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP 16. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP Questions 17. 2013 Armstrong Teasdale LLP Contact J.P. Hasman 314.621.5070 CLE and HRCI Confirmation Code: HF0710