Worker and Labor Strikes, Guidance for Employers


Dec 29,2022

Worker Strikes Brewing for Employers in Fast-Food

Worker Strikes Remain Concerning for Large Employers

Worker strikes for a major coffee brand from Seattle should be a cause of concern for many businesses that employ unionized workforces. As a globally recognized coffee giant, rolling labor strikes of its unionized workforces are likely just the tip of the iceberg of what is to come. This union strike paints a broader picture of the state of the labor market heading into 2023, as fast-food worker strikes might become commonplace. 

Employers should expect their workforces to command more in one way or another. Whether it is an increase in wages and benefits, workers are set to have more power than ever heading into the new year of 2023. With strike action and walk-offs being a reality for retailers and fast-food employers in the near future, employers should begin planning now for increased labor turmoil. Rising costs of living attributed to inflation are set to develop complex union negotiations, labor strikes, and new deals that could dictate profits for years to come. Major businesses should expect complicated union negotiations between employer and workforce sooner rather than later.

Worker Strikes in North America

The recent barista walkout has nicknamed their efforts the “double down strike,’ a three-day walkout across 100 different stores in the United States. Citing poorly staffed working conditions, strict HR policies, and wages not in line with the costs of living, many staff have no other choice but to seek more from employers. Striking workers even called upon the general public, through popular social media platforms, to not purchase anything from the company as a sign of support. With over 9,000 locations around the world, this strike action is just a small portion of the company’s global reach but a concerning trend for many employers. 

Over the last year, close to 300 stores have called for employees to unionize, ultimately giving the workforce increased power to collectively bargain with the employer for increased wages and improved health benefits. This labor turmoil comes at a time during the holiday season when many fast-food employers and retailers lean on their low-skilled workforces to supply increased demands. Calls of boycotting against the employer have the potential to cause serious harm to a company’s brand and reduce sales and profits.

Worker Strikes in Retail and Fast-Food

After a difficult pandemic, public-facing fast-food giants are expected to experience deeper labor turmoil heading into 2023. Strikes, unionization, and walk-offs are ultimately not exclusive to one sector but should be expected for any business that directly services the general public. 

The nature of addressing unions in North America is a complicated endeavor, as labor laws often prohibit employers from implementing preventative measures that deter unionization. Often referred to as “union busting,” employers could face hefty fines and legal penalties for utilizing such tactics.

Worker Strikes: Options for Employers

Employers expecting complex worker and union strikes should look to address their labor concerns head-on. AFIMAC is the global leader in providing union negotiation services, aiding major employers across North America in crafting favorable deals between employers and unions. AFIMAC maintains extensive legal resources that can navigate the complexities of unionization in your workforce and address ongoing strike action.

Contingency workforces also have a part to play in 2023; AFIMAC is unique in that it can source contingent workers on your behalf and transport them to your job site. Utilizing a contingent workforce can buy employers precious hours as they negotiate new deals with unions. Leverage entire fleets of contingent workforces to address strikes and walk-offs to ensure that your business is capable of supplying demand regardless of ongoing strike action.

Facing imminent strike action, unionization, or ongoing picketing at your workplace? Contact Jim Rovers of AFIMAC directly by emailing jrovers@afimaccan.com. Senior leaders are often caught off-guard by a strike, surprised by the challenges faced during union negotiations and the security concerns. Picket lines can be dangerous for all parties involved, and these issues often call for specialized security and protective driver solutions.AFIMAC remains highly capable of addressing every element of a difficult strike. Call on the strike specialists who can offer full-service strike solutions, including picket line security, contingent workforces, and union negotiation tactics to help bring strikes to a close and allow your business to focus on what matters most.

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