Viewpoint: A Strategy Based on Strikes Means Breaking the Law

Source: Joe Burns, Labor Notes, April 16, 2013

It was a welcome arrival on the labor scene late last year: an organizing strategy centered on workplace activism and strikes. Unions set their sights high, taking on the fast food industry in New York, massive warehouse complexes near Chicago and Los Angeles, and even the nation’s largest employer, Walmart.

The strategy focuses on building organization inside the workplace, rather than on a rigged National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election process. By strategically striking, a group of activists can convince their co-workers that fighting back is possible, raise publicity for their struggle, and pressure employers into granting concessions.

It’s a very traditional strategy, reaching back to a time when a union meant people coming together. With the advantages of a fresh perspective and strong community ties, these emerging forms of worker organization represent new hope for the labor movement.

In the long run, however, it is hard to envision this strategy succeeding unless workers challenge and, if necessary, violate labor law…