Working without a Contract: A Strategy Whose Time Has Come?

Source: Robert M. Schwartz, Labor Notes, February 11, 2013

When a contract expires with no prospect of a settlement, the union has three choices:
– Agree with the employer to extend the contract for a fixed or an indefinite period
– Strike
– Work without a contract.

For many years, unions mostly stuck to the first two options. Working without a contract was considered a hazardous move that could cut off dues and leave the union open to decertification.

But recently, unions have been taking a closer look at the work-without-a-contract strategy. Some have changed their mantra from “no contract, no work” to “no contract, no peace.” With a helpful December 2012 Labor Board (NLRB) ruling (see below), this trend is likely to gain momentum….