Strike Preparation Guidelines

Strike preparation minimizes business impact as the result of a work stoppage by a labor union, either directly or indirectly. If a labor unit represents your employees, and/or your suppliers, and/or your customer's employees, then possibly at some time, they may go on strike and/or picket the work site. This could negatively impact your ability to meet your contractual obligations

Several different types of strikes can occur, the impact of each differs, as well as the planning. Here we address the most frequent type of strike encountered, the familiar "Economic Strike". The economic strike comes from failing to negotiate a satisfactory contract agreement which results in a work stoppage.

In the event that such an occurrence is a possibility, implementing the following strike preparation guidelines prepares you for a strike and enables the protection of employees and assets. At a minimum, implementing these guidelines supports the perception that your team controls your business and focuses on minimizing business risks. .

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Strike Preparation Phases

To adequately plan and deal with strike and labor disturbances, three distinct phases need to be addressed:

  1. Strike Preparation Planning
  2. In-Strike Procedures
  3. Post Strike Follow-up

Strike Preparation Planning

Strike preparation, at a minimum, begins with the earliest indicators that a strike may occur. This means "Keeping an ear to the ground" as a necessary task performed by all levels of management at about the time a collective bargaining contract expires.

Policy Questions/Decisions

When it becomes clear that a strike could occur, a series of policy questions must be answered before planning can proceed. Importantly, for strike preparation, management must agree upon the answers prior to the actual strike.

Key questions include...

  • Will we conduct business as usual?
  • How will access to facilities be controlled?
  • What will be the size of the work force?
  • Will shipments be made and received?
  • What will the chain of command be during the strike?
  • Will criminal complaints be followed up in cases where police make arrest?
  • Will the strike be documented, and to what extent?

After answering these questions and establishing the policy, formulate procedures detailing these items.

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Strike Preparation Starter Checklist

For strikte preparation, he following items should be reviewed and addressed as applicable:

  • As a potential strike threat nears, has someone been assigned to examine the workplace using these guidelines?
  • Have arrangements been made to insure no hourly personnel will be allowed inside the workplace or on the premises during a strike, unless the company decides to permit strikers to return to work?
  • Has a detailed workplace map or a diagram been prepared?
  • Have plans been made to man an incoming telephone line 24 hours a day?
  • Just prior to the strike; have gate locks and major perimeter locks been re-keyed? Have the keys been strictly controlled?
  • Has one gate been designated for entrance and exit to be used by all employees?
  • Has a gate been designated for utilization by construction workers requiring entrance or exit?
  • Have arrangements been made for salaried employees to park their personal vehicles in areas that will prevent or minimize damage to the vehicles?
  • Have arrangements been made for night parking in a well lighted area?
  • Are the fence and building perimeters well lighted, functioning and in good repair?
  • If guards are utilized at gate or entrance, has a salaried employee been posted at entrances to assist with identification of incoming personnel?
  • Has a photographer/observer been assigned to the entrances, and been instructed in approved photography, and reporting objectives?
  • Have security manpower needs been determined and are high risk areas identified, and scheduled for uninterrupted monitoring by patrol or electrical means?
  • Have identification cards with photos and signatures been issued to salaried employees prior to the strike?
  • Are duplicate photos of employees on file in the personnel office if needed for identification?

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  • If a computer area exists within the premises, have all the important computer documents, and tapes been placed in a safe offsite area?
  • Have the appropriate police departments been notified of the possibility of a strike? Will they be notified immediately if a strike occurs? Have they been provided with the names of three (3) management contacts?
  • Do trucks leaving the workplace move in a convoy, and has the police department been alerted to the times that the trucks depart and the route to be taken?
  • In an emergency, is there an emergency telephone list, including a list of workplace personnel to be called in prioritized order?
  • Are employees encouraged to carpool when coming to work, in order to reduce vehicle traffic across the picket line?
  • Have local utility companies been contacted to assure continued maintenance of services during a strike?
  • Have salaried employees been advised they must stop at any picket lines when entering or leaving the premises, and that they must use reason and common sense in allowing the pickets to walk in front of their vehicles?
  • Have salaried employees been told to discourage all conversations with the pickets?
  • Have contractors working on the site been notified of a possible strike?
  • Has it been determined whether or not the contractors will cross the picket lines?
  • Has it been stressed to the contractors that they must use the appropriate designated gate, in the event they decide to cross the lines?
  • As the strike deadline approaches, have workplace supervisors been alerted to be especially watchful for theft and property damage?
  • Has a strike history of the workplace been reviewed for any help in predicting any acts of sabotage and pinpointing previous trouble areas?
  • Have salaried employees been designated to record the number of pickets and names of pickets, with the documentation of any incident on or around the picket lines?
  • Have written phrases i.e., terminology on the picket signs been noted?
  • Is the record updated every hour?

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  • Has it been stressed upon supervisory personnel that it is imperative they promptly report and document incidents that are strike related, both before and during the strike?
  • Have large amounts of cash been removed from the premises, and have other high-value easily stolen items been adequately protected?
  • If remote warehouse facilities are needed, do they meet the appropriate security guidelines?
  • Have all sprinkler control valves been locked and are they inspected daily?
  • Are combustibles stored in areas protected by automatic sprinklers?
  • Are flammable liquids strictly controlled in a properly safeguarded, locked area?
  • Do combustible storage areas have proper lighting?
  • Have burglar alarms that use batteries been checked to ensure a good battery or good battery charge?
  • Have broken windows been repaired or boarded-over, and all doors adequately secured?
  • Have fences and gates been repaired?

In-Strike Procedures

When the policy decisions have been made and strike preparation completed, devise an appropriate in-strike operations plan.

The strike preparation operations plan in its broadest form encompasses all on and off site activities, which functions during the strike.

It should contain

  • personnel manning charts and tables
  • facilities schedules,
  • acquisitions and distribution plans for special logistics such as; food, sleeping and feeding arrangements, security equipment and general logistical requirements,
  • command chain
  • locations of Executives and Managerial personnel
  • procedures for handling fire
  • medical and other emergencies; police liaison on site and where necessary.

The plan should contain subject information as listed below, and additional information as deemed necessary by management.

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Initial Action

  • Notify executive leadership, if applicable.
  • Re-familiarize yourself with these guidelines.
  • Notify your customers of the impending event.
  • Brief all employees on the situation in a way that best minimizes anxiety and concern.
  • Review and, if necessary, update security and disaster recovery plans (also part of pre-planning).
  • Management should contact the customer and review their proposed security procedures, if applicable.
  • Ensure all personnel are aware of and comply with all safety and security procedures.
  • As appropriate, provide employees with a list of emergency telephone numbers, e.g.:
  1. Managers home phones
  2. Police department
  3. Fire department
  4. Ambulance
  5. Customer contacts
  6. Equipment service vendors
  7. Corporate Security
  8. Corporate Risk Management
  9. Local security
  10. Local Command Post
  • Take appropriate steps to protect equipment, vehicles, and facilities from damage due to acts of vandalism.
  • Review special security procedures to ensure satisfactory level of comfort, e.g., additional security officers on site, additional security rounds, strategize placement of security officers, additional surveillance cameras, etc.
  • Review communication operations.
  • Review camera coverage and surveillance operations.
  • Review general instructions for personnel regarding access.
  • Ensure safety equipment is strategically placed and in good working order, e.g., fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, etc.

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Work Stoppage Guidelines for Employees

The following precautions and procedures should be followed to ensure your safety and to avoid any incident in the event that you are required to cross picket lines. Please keep the following list with you at all times:

  • Try to cross picket lines in groups, whenever possible, rather than alone.
  • Do not initiate conversation with picketers and if they do, keep conversation cordial and to a minimum.
  • Ignore any offensive or obscene comments.
  • Keep car doors and windows locked and look straight-ahead, avoiding eye contact with pickets.
  • Do nothing to provoke a confrontation.
  • Use designated entrances only.
  • Use caution when driving into or out of the premises.
  • If your entrance/egress is blocked, turn around and go back and call this emergency number for further assistance (insert number here).
  • Keep discretionary comings and goings to a minimum.
  • Immediately report any incidents of harassment, verbal abuse, or vandalism that you witness to your manager or security.

Contingency Plans

  • If applicable, ask the customer about their strike preparation contingency plan and tailor your operation accordingly.
  • Do not promise the customer that you will perform the work of striking or picketing employees.
  • If your customer designated an alternate work site, consider doing the same.
  • Make necessary preparations to ensure continuance of all critical support, e.g., production control, accounts receivable, payroll, etc.

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Strike Preparation Supplies and Services

  • Increase your level of all critical supplies necessary to continue operations.
  • Contact all vendors and advise them of the possible strike and make alternate arrangements with them if they oppose crossing a picket line, e.g., designate alternate delivery points and ways to move the supplies through the picket lines - special couriers, etc.
  • Determine whether or not the availability of building services, i.e., maintenance, cafeteria, etc. will continue during a strike. If not, make alternate plans to accommodate your employees.

Strike Preparation Employee Concerns

  • Meet with all employees as a group or in teams to explain the situation.
  • Try to reduce their concerns and ensure them that all precautions are being taken to ensure their safety - give examples.
  • Solicit employee questions and concerns and address them in a positive manner.
  • Hold regular group meetings to review security issues and calm any employee concerns.
  • Provide employees with a copy of the attached "Work Stoppage Guidelines for Employees" if your site is expecting picketing, and review it thoroughly with them.
  • Ensure that all employees understand that absent legitimate safety concerns, they are expected to report to work unless you advise them differently.

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Post Strike Follow-up

Conduct post-strike follow-up by analyzing information gathered from documentation produced during the strike.

To help, accomplish this by utilizing still and video surveillance cameras; sound recordings; on-the-spot-note-taking; and maintaining a series of logs, such as; incident logs, vehicle logs, picket count logs, etc.

Refrain from documenting legal activities. However, document illegal activities as fully as possible using the above noted methods.

The documentation may be required or useful in the following cases:

  1. In support of, or in proof of, criminal charges.
  2. Support of an application for injunctive relief, either in the Federal or State Courts.
  3. To support an unfair labor practice complaint hearing before the National or State Labor Board.

An after strike report should be prepared at the conclusion of the strike after analysis of the documentation. The report should include, but not be limited to the following:

1.   Total number of incidents.

2.   Incidents broken down by categories, i.e.:

  • Fires
  • Unauthorized trespass
  • Entry of unauthorized vehicles
  • Vandalism
  • Sabotage
  • Assaults
  • Etc.

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