What is a Strike?
A strike is the legal withholding of one’s labor in an attempt to bring economic pressure to bear on the employer. This is the Union's self help remedy. No one can be fired for legally striking. To OPEIU members a strike means sacrifice for themselves and their families and is not entered into frivolously.
When can a Union strike?
There is a system for negotiation and dispute resolution to give both sides ample opportunity to resolve differences. These steps are:
- Voluntary Negotiations - The parties first meet voluntarily to negotiate a contract. If the parties cannot reach an agreement voluntarily a request can be made for mediated negotiations.
- Mediated Negotiations - The NLRB assigns a mediator to the negotiations. The mediator's main duty is to facilitate progress during the negotiations. When progress between the parties can no longer be achieved (parties are at impasse) the mediator is empowered to release the parties to exercise self-help measures.
Who calls a strike?
It is a myth that union leadership calls strikes. Only the employees involved can make the decision to go on strike; and only then by a majority vote as determined by the members themselves. Union members know that the decision to strike has economic impacts on both the employees and the employer.
How frequent are strikes?
Not frequent at all. In 99 percent of all OPEIU contract negotiations agreements are reached without a strike.
Are strikes really necessary?
No, the OPEIU believes that if employees and management discuss issues in an atmosphere of mutual respect and concern strikes should not occur. Also, there are many strategies that can be implemented short of a strike to force management to negotiate in good faith.