In the United States, under federal labor law, an employer may only hire temporary replacements during a lockout – not permanent replacements. An employer may legally hire permanent replacements during a strike, unless it is an unfair labor practice (ULP) strike. If the company hires permanent replacement workers anyway, and unfair labor practice (ULP) charges are upheld, the company can be penalized and federal contracts can be cancelled.
From the perspective of a labor and employee relations lawyer, here are the differences between using permanent versus temporary replacement workers:
Hiring temporary replacement workers is an advantageous move when the company is trying to keep the current workforce:
- Hiring temps in a labor disruption situation saves relationships
- Temp workers are a good staffing strategy in regions where there are not a lot of local skilled workers
- Easily replaceable and good relationship with workers
When the company and union leaders have had extremely long disagreements over make-or-break issues, and a bad relationship with employees, a permanent replacement workforce would be advantageous. To learn about advantages to bringing on temporary workforces, read our other blog post, How Temporary Staffing Can Help.