UNDERSTANDING STRIKES AND WORK STOPPAGES
Federal labor law states, “Employees shall have the right. . . to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining and for the mutual protection.”
STRIKES are included among the concerted activities protected for employees. The law goes on to say, "the law not only guarantees the right of employees to strike, but also places limitations and qualifications on the exercise of that right. The consequences can be severe to striking employees."
Although Strikes only happen 1 in every 52 negotiations, they are real and carry significant impact to all involved. There are two (2) types of strikes as defined by the National Labor Relations Act. Employees who strike for a lawfully fall into two classes “economic strikers” and “unfair labor practice strikers.”
What is an Economic Striker? If the object of a strike is to obtain from the employer some economic
concession such as higher wages, shorter hours, or better working conditions, the striking employees are called economic strikers. Economic Strikers retain their status as employees and cannot be discharged [fired], but they can be replaced by their employer. If the employer has hired bona fide permanent replacements who are filling the jobs of the economic strikers when the strikers apply unconditionally to go back to work, the strikers are not entitled to reinstatement at that time. However, they are entitled to be recalled to jobs for which they are qualified when openings in such jobs occur if they, or their bargaining representative, have made an unconditional request for their reinstatement."
In simple terms, Economic Strikers:
Cannot be terminated for striking, HOWEVER,
Economic Strikers can be Permanently Replaced.
Employee's Pay and Benefits STOP Immediately.
DO NOT get back pay (unless agreed to by employer)
Employees may take the option to pay 100% of COBRA Cost to keep insurance.
May not be eligible for Unemployment.
Union may offer to pay strikers (SEE RWU Constitution)