Labor Strike Security Basics:
What is Legal on the Picket

Labor Strike Security Basics: What is Legal on the Picket Line?

January 31, 2024

Labor Strike Security and Picketing Q & A

Labor strike security solutions speak to the needs of employers experiencing worker strikes at the job site. Union strikes are unpredictable and often call for a strike security company to address issues before they unravel into something more complex. While many picket lines adhere to an agreed-upon protocol, some picketers may be tempted to act outside these guidelines.

Truthfully, for the unionized workers who decide to picket against their employer, the decision itself can be a difficult one rooted in emotion and frustration. There are cases where the actions of a striking workforce may cause damage to property or create issues between employees and the general public. Verbal and physical harassment is a possibility against those crossing the picket line, and the employer will be responsible for any personal injuries sustained by striking workers and staff. Maintaining order and peace during a union strike remains a complex feat, requiring extensive planning, ongoing labor strike security resources, and monitoring to ensure that all parties involved play by the rules.

Labor Strike Security: Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of the most common questions regarding worker strike picket lines. Discover what exactly is considered legal and illegal on the picket line. 

Can Striking Workers Be Fired for Picketing Their Employer?

No. Workers have the legal right in North America to organize and picket against their employer. When the strike ends, they have the legal right to their jobs.

Is it Legal for the Public to Join Picket Lines? 

Yes. Even fellow workforces have the right to join in on a picket line at your job site.

Can Non-Striking Workers Refuse to Cross The Picket Line?

Yes. Your non-striking staff has the legal right to refuse to cross a picket line if they are fearful for their safety. Employers have the legal obligation to provide a safe workplace for their non-striking workers, even if there is a picket line around the job site. Employers will have to facilitate secure entry onto the job site to ensure their safety.

Can an Employer Discipline Staff That Show Support for Striking Workers?

Even workers who cross the picket line have the right to support for a unionized labor strike. Whether they discuss organizing picket lines, partake in union activities, or wear buttons or patches on their uniform, an employer cannot discipline their staff for participating in such activities.

What Kind of Behavior is Considered Illegal on the Picket Line?

Workers maintain the right to organize, protest, and picket their employer, but they must always do so peacefully. What is considered peaceful remains a grey area, and picketers may be tempted to cross the line.

Picketing workers are not allowed to threaten violence, cause property damage, harass or verbally abuse others, physically touch those crossing the picket line, or even threaten to disturb the peace as a means of pressuring their employer into a deal.

Labor Strike Security shown via executives planning for a work stoppage.

Can Law Enforcement Manage a Picket Line for an Employer?

Local law enforcement will only take steps to manage a picket line if there is a threat to the safety of the public. Should an employer experience an exceptionally large picket line, law enforcement may work with the employer and advise on other guidelines.

For the majority of worker strikes, employers will be required to take it upon themselves to address the security risks associated with a picket line. Traditional security resources are often just the beginning of proper picket line management, and employers will need extensive resources, access to information, and intelligence monitoring in order to secure their job site.

Can Labor Strikes Bring an End to a Business?

Yes. Labor stoppages have a direct impact on an employer’s bottom line, but the financial implications of a workers’ strike do not stop there. It may not be the productivity stoppage that ends a business but the liability issues that arise from violence and personal injuries on the picket line.

Labor Strike Security Solutions from AFIMAC Global

Connect with AFIMAC Global to learn more about our full-service business continuity service solutions to union strikes impacting your business. Explore pre-strike planning options, contingency planning, strike security forces, protective drivers, and contingent workforces that speak directly to your needs. AFIMAC can also extensively document the actions of your picketing employees to continuously hold them accountable for vandalism and other threats. Fill out the form now to learn more about your options and begin the process today. Union strikes in North America are delicate issues that can be addressed with the many services of AFIMAC, but the planning process starts now.

Contact us today; fill out the form below for more information.

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