For trade unions and labor unions, one of the most effective weapons is the strike. There are certain conditions that usually must be met before a strike can happen:
- The strike must be agreed to democratically (typically by a ballot of all members of a union)
- Certain employees may be forbidden from striking (police and firemen, some transportation industry employees, health care professionals, etc.)
- Depending on the area, “sympathy strikes” by people not employed by the company may be prohibited (this is relatively rare)
- Some states do not allow teachers in public schools to strike, and employees of the federal government sign a document before beginning employment saying they will not strike.
- Some workers, even during a strike, choose to continue working. This is called “crossing the picket line” and these workers are often called “scabs,” a highly derogatory term. Crossing the picket line can sometimes result in negative consequences taken against the workers that continue employment during the strike.
Employers have a few ways to combat strikes. They can significantly increase inventory before the strike to weather the storm, hire replacement workers during the strike, eliminate the union altogether, or lockout their workers.
There are many different legal issues that can arise between employers and employees, especially if there are unions involved. For help with all of your employment law needs, contact the Austin labor attorneys of The Melton Law Firm at (512) 330-0017.