What methods do employers use to deal with strikes?
Most strikes called by unions are somewhat predictable; they typically occur during and sometimes after deadlock in negotiations or in event of an industrial dispute. We share with you some methods employers use to deal with strikes.
Strike preparation: Companies which produce products for sale will frequently increase inventories prior to a strike. Salaried employees may be called upon to take the place of strikers, which may entail advance training. If the company has multiple locations, personnel may be redeployed to meet the needs of reduced staff.
Companies may also take out strike insurance prior to an anticipated strike, helping to offset the losses which the strike would cause.
One of the weapons traditionally wielded by already-established unions is strike action. Some companies may decline entirely to negotiate with the union, and respond to the strike by hiring replacement workers.
This may create a crisis situation for strikers do they stick to their original plan and rely upon their solidarity, or is there a chance that the strike may be lost? How long will the strike last? Will strikers’ jobs still be there if the strike fails? Are other strikers defecting from the strike? Companies that hire strike-breakers typically play upon these fears when they attempt to convince union members to abandon the strike and cross the union’s picket line.
Another counter to a strike is a lockout, the form of work stoppage in which an employer refuses to allow employees to work. Unions faced with a strikebreaking situation may try to inhibit the use of strike-breakers by a variety of methods:
• establishing picket lines where the strike-breakers enter the workplace
• discouraging strike breakers from taking or keeping strikebreaking job
• raising the cost of hiring strike-breakers for the company