Strikes, Lockouts and Other "Economic Weapons": Connecticut
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Author: Susan Borowski, Reliable Writing Services
- Private employees have the right to strike as provided under the National Labor Relations Act. See Private Employees' Right to Strike.
- The Connecticut State Labor Relations Act (SLRA) contains specific provisions regarding strikes and lockouts for employees of hospitals and other health institutions. See Strikes and Lockouts of Hospital Employees.
- The law lists specific actions for which an injunction may not be issued. See Injunctions Under the State Labor Relations Act.
- There are specific provisions in regard to what constitutes lawful picketing. See Picketing Under the State Labor Relations Act.
- The hiring of strikebreakers is allowed, but with special provisions. See Strikebreakers under the State Labor Relations Act.
Private Employees' Right to Strike
Connecticut's private sector labor relations statute is known as the State Labor Relations Act (SLRA). See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-101 to § 31-111b. It provides many of the same rights as the National Labor Relations Act, such as the right to strike.
Strikes and Lockouts of Hospital Employees
Employees of employers licensed by the Department of Health under section 19a-490 (which applies to most medical providers) are prohibited from encouraging or engaging in any strike, work stoppage, slowdown or withholding of goods or services where they are employed. See +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-121a.
Employees are allowed to be public about their grievances, as long as the publicity does not induce anyone to withhold goods or services at the employer's premises. Picketing is prohibited.
An employer covered under this statute may not cause a lockout of employees from the employer's premises. See +Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-111a.
In the event of a strike, work stoppage or lockout of employees of health care institutions, the Labor Commissioner may appoint an impartial fact-finder to be involved if it appears that the dispute is endangering or may endanger the health, welfare and safety of patients of the institution or of the community in general. See +Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-121a.
Injunctions under the State Labor Relations Act
An injunction is a court order issued to a person or entity directing it to do or refrain from doing a particular act. Under the SLRA, no injunctions may be issued for the following acts:
- Stopping or refusing to perform any work, or remaining in any relation of employment;
- Becoming or remaining a union member;
- Paying or withholding any strike or unemployment benefits or insurance, or anything else of value, to a person involved in a labor dispute;
- Aiding a person participating in a labor dispute who is involved in a legal proceeding;
- Publicizing the existence or facts of a labor dispute by advertising, speaking, patrolling, or other lawful method;
- Assembling to promote group interests in a labor dispute;
- Notifying anyone of an intention to do any of these acts, or agreeing or urging others to do or not do any of these acts.
Organizations are not responsible for the unlawful acts of individual officers or agents of the organization unless it is proved that the officer or agent had authorization for the illegal acts, or that the unlawful acts were endorsed after they became known to the organization. See +Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-114.
Picketing Under the State Labor Relations Act
As noted above, picketing by hospital employees is prohibited. In addition, no picketing is allowed near the residence of an individual unless the residence is adjacent to, in the same building, or on the same premises where the person was employed and which employment is involved in a labor dispute. See +Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-120.
The law has been construed to permit all picketing in a residential area except for labor picketing that is not conducted at the site of a labor dispute. See State v. Anonymous, +6 Conn. Cir. Ct. 372 (App. Div. 1970).
Strikebreakers under the State Labor Relations Act
Connecticut prohibits employers from hiring "strikebreakers" to replace employees involved in a strike or lockout. See +CT Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-48a. As defined under the statute, strikebreakers are individuals who have been employed anywhere two or more times in the same craft or industry in place of employees involved in a strike or lockout. Any employer who recruits or employs a strikebreaker may be fined $100 and $1,000, up to 3 years' imprisonment, or both. See +CT Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-48a.
Advertisement for Replacements during a Strike or Lockout
Connecticut law states that an employer may advertise for workers to replace employee positions made vacant by a strike, lockout or other dispute, but the employer must plainly state in large bold type that a strike, lockout or other labor dispute exists. See +Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-121.
The penalty for violation of the picketing statute is a fine up to $200 and imprisonment up to six months, or both. See +Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-120.
There are no developments to report at this time. Continue to check XpertHR regularly for the latest information on this and other topics.