What happens if we march in March?
February 10, 2013 9:05 AM Subscribe
My union may be going on strike. What does that mean? Assume a naive mid-career professional with limited understanding of labor relations.
posted by anonymous to work & money (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm an engineer belonging to a professional aerospace union in Washington state. After a difficult negotiation involving federal mediators, the union has sent out ballots to vote on the company's latest contract offer and ask for strike authorization. The union has recommended that the membership vote NO on the offer and YES on strike authorization.
I started to type out all my feelings about the union, the offer, the adversarial nature of the negotiations process, etc., and then I realized that this was unnecessary background. So, let's get right to it.
If my union goes on strike, and I join them:
* I don't get paid, right? Can I use vacation or sick leave?
* What happens to my health insurance & other benefits? If I lose coverage, what are my options?
* Should I be looking for temporary employment?
* Can striking lead to full-time unemployment?
* Are there other things I should do to prepare?
* What else do I need to know?
If my union goes on strike, and I choose not to join them:
* This is scabbing, right?
* What should I know about choosing not to strike?
Complication: Although I work with union engineers, I also support a few projects at sites where the engineers are NOT unionized. I would really like to maintain good relationships with my non-union colleagues - especially because I'm worried that they'll think the union is too much of a hassle and decide to move the work. Is there anything I can do? Should this influence my decision to authorize or join a strike? Would it be inappropriate to mention the union and the possibility of strike to them? (I'm not sure if they're aware of it.)
I'd appreciate any thoughts on these topics. Thanks.