Strikes can sometimes present volatile situations. Employment is an integral part of a person’s life, and therefore, passions naturally run high. It’s extremely important not only to protect the premises from incidents that could occur during the strike period, but to also ensure the safety of striking workers and any non-unionized and temporary employees still onsite.
Picketing Rules & Laws
By definition, a picket line is the area where locked out workers gather to present their demands visually and a line is established that people from both sides do not cross. Many states have laws regarding picket lines. Picketing regulations from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) outline what is permitted and what isn’t. Here are some general guidelines to pay attention to for safer strike security (it’s important to note that picketing rules and laws can vary by state).
- Picketers generally need to be employees of the business they’re picketing.
- More than one person cannot picket at a single entrance when there is no active strike.
- Picketing cannot interfere with those who are still working entering or exiting the premises. In other words, picketers cannot physically block entrances.
Preparing for Employee Picketing
While it’s important that both sides respect each other, there are a few things you’ll want to do to ensure order and safety before the picketing even begins:
Notify local authorities. In the event that picketing gets out of hand, police can be readily available to wind things down in a way that’s peaceful and orderly. Having police assigned to the event makes everyone feel safer.
Set the boundaries. Notifying picketing individuals beforehand that they are not to enter the building or business property can help set boundaries and minimize any possibilities of violations.
Prepare to report any illegal behavior. While picket lines are expected to be generally peaceful, illegal activity can occur. It’s important to document any illegal activity and report it to the local authorities accordingly.
Know your limitations. Picketing is a regular and expected part of the strike process. Picketers have the right to be there, and as an employer you must respect those rights. Employers cannot intimidate picketers. Unions and employers may, however, work to end picket events by working together.
Establish a contractor gate. Establishing a well marked contractor gate will allow non-striking contractors to enter the workspace without forcing them to cross the picket line.
Preparing for employee picketing during a strike ensures the safety of everyone, whether they’re part of the picketing or working on the business property. For more information on picketing regulations and how you can prepare for a strike, contact the experts at Strom today.
For information on what to do once strikes have been resolved, read our other post, After the Strike: How to Improve Employee Morale in the Workplace.