Labor Dispute Guidance: Why
Employers Should Always
Play by the Rules

Labor Dispute Guidance: Why Employers Should Always Play by the Rules

January 22, 2024

Labor Dispute Guidance and Business Continuity Planning

Labor dispute guidance remains available for all AFIMAC clients in North America. The truth is that labor disputes require extensive business continuity planning that can work to remedy unexpected labor stoppages. Employers suspecting or experiencing a union strike might be tempted to discourage their staff from taking part in such activities, using a variety of tactics to extinguish unionization sentiment. The truth is that when employers are facing the possibility of a labor strike, any attempt to discourage such unionization or work stoppage places employers in a precarious legal position that could have negative repercussions for years to come.

Walk the tightrope of labor disputes and work stoppages in North America alongside a qualified risk management and business continuity company that can help you play by the rules and bring an end to your next labor dispute. Take steps to plan for such issues, use information and intelligence to your advantage, and when the time is right, utilize temporary workforces that can make ends meet during the negotiation process.   

The Legalities of Work Stoppages

Labor disputes are an unfortunate cost of doing business, and every employer, both big and small, should accept that it is a very real possibility. Aside from the obvious financial costs and sudden dip in productivity, employers will also face several legal and security challenges throughout the process. Despite how divisive a labor dispute is, both parties will need to work together to resolve their issues and get back to business as soon as possible.

Some employers may be tempted to discourage or punish employees for organizing a union or taking part in union-related activities. This ultimately exposes the entire organization to various legal consequences, including violation of federal law outlined by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The same can be said for Canadian employers who must adhere to guidelines dictated by the Canada Labour Relations Board.

labor dispute guidance being conducted with a team of business professionals.

Considering Unfair Labor Practices

Unfair labor practices are likely not to go unpunished, and employers should look to play by the rules no matter how difficult and stressful the labor concerns may be. Terminating an employee who is leading the charge of union sentiment within your workforce is an especially precarious legal blunder, likely to result in costly litigation at a later date. In other cases, employers have acted in bad faith by withholding perks or pay, clawing back health benefits, or simply intimidating staff through face-to-face meetings. 

These unfair and unlawful labor practices will almost certainly land an employer in legal trouble, potentially prompting your workforce to explore unionization and labor strikes with more motivation than ever before. Simply put, there is no legal avenue for employers to prevent and “union-proof” their job sites; the only option is to plan for the possibility.

Workplace Privacy Laws

In many instances, employers may wish to learn more about union activities or growing sentiment by tapping into private text messages or email correspondence. Even if the devices that employees use to communicate are company property, including email accounts, cellphones, and computers, searching such devices or reading private conversations is a quick way to break state-level or provincial privacy laws.

Your staff has a reasonable expectation of privacy, even while on the job site. Many workforces use their business phones for both work and personal communication, and any sort of “spy” tactics on behalf of an employer can have extensive legal consequences.

Labor Dispute Guidance and Business Continuity From AFIMAC Global

AFIMAC has specialized in the complexities of labor disputes across North America for decades. Our service offerings can assist and guide employers through every detail of a labor dispute, with several solutions that can work to bring an end to these challenges as quickly as possible.

Begin with careful business continuity services that outline what human resources will be needed in the event of a labor dispute, along with security considerations that can keep all parties safe. With such plans in place, employers can call upon fleets of temporary workers to ensure continuity despite ongoing labor turmoil while ensuring that picketing workers behave themselves and never place others in harm’s way. AFIMAC can even gather intelligence without ever breaking privacy laws, tapping into public social conversations, and taking temperature reads of picket lines and protests. Utilize contingent workforces to make ends meet while navigating labor turmoil and protect the business leadership has worked so hard to maintain.

Negotiate with unions alongside those who have specialized in such matters for many well-known brands and Fortune 500 companies. Fill out the form below to speak with an AFIMAC representative and learn more about your options during difficult labor turmoil. Employers are not alone during these challenging times, and collaborating with a third-party risk management firm such as AFIMAC can work in your best interests and resolve labor disputes.

Contact us now for more information.

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