Strikes, Lockouts and Other "Economic Weapons": Michigan
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Authors: Clifford L. Hammond and Patricia Nemeth, Nemeth Burwell, PC
- Private sector employers and employees may not engage in a strike or lockout unless proper notice procedures are followed. See Strikes and Lockouts.
- Mass picketing, unlawful threats or force for the purpose of hindering or preventing the pursuit of lawful work are prohibited under Michigan's Labor Relations and Mediation Act (LMA). See Unlawful Picketing.
Strikes and Lockouts
Private sector employers and employees subject to Michigan's Labor Relations and Mediation Act (LMA) may not engage in a strike or lockout unless the following occurs first:
- The employees or employee representatives (in the case of an impending strike) or the employer (in the case of an impending lockout) notifies the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) of the dispute. MERC must be notified at least 10 days before the strike or lockout is to become effective and the notice must contain a statement of the issues. The parties must become unable to resolve their labor dispute before taking this step.
- MERC attempts but fails to settle the dispute through mediation between the parties. During this process, the parties must participate actively and in good faith during the mediation.
See +MCLS § 423.9.
A strike or lockout is considered unlawful if the employer or union does not follow the above notice procedures. Any individual or person may pursue appropriate legal, equitable, or other relief from the circuit court if these notice procedures are violated. See +MCLS § 423.22.
An employer involved in a strike or lockout is prohibited from knowingly employing an individual who "customarily and repeatedly offers himself for employment in the place of employees involved in a strike or lockout." Likewise, individuals who "customarily and repeatedly" offer themselves for employment in the place of striking or locked out employees are prohibited from taking or offering to take the place of the employees involved in a strike or lockout.
In addition, employers involved in a strike or lockout may not hire, import, or otherwise arrange with anyone else to hire and import employees from another state or country to replace employees involved in the strike or lockout for purposes of strike-breaking. Employers are also prohibited from recruiting, soliciting, or advertising for employees to replace employees involved in a lawful strike or lockout, without adequate notice to the solicited person, that a strike or lockout at the employment site is in progress and that the offered employment is in place of striking or locked out employees.
The LMA prohibits a person or persons from using mass picketing, unlawful threats, or force to hinder or prevent the pursuit of lawful work or employment. It is also illegal to obstruct or interfere with the use of public roads or other public ways of travel. In addition, unless the federal or state constitution specifically allows, no one may legally picket a private residence by any means or method. Furthermore, it is unlawful for any person to enter, take possession or control of any property, or to interfere or withhold possession of property against the will of the owner via force or unlawful threats. Violation of these provisions is a misdemeanor. See +MCLS § 423.9f and +MCLS § 423.15.
The LMA also prohibits unions from threatening to picket, causing to be picketed, or picketing any employer where the primary purpose is to force the employer to recognize or bargain with a union, or if the primary purpose is to force the employees to accept or select the union as their collective bargaining representative if:
- Another labor organization has been lawfully recognized and a question concerning representation may not appropriately be raised under the Act, or
- Where a valid election under the Act has been conducted within the preceding twelve months, unless, the picketing labor organization is lawfully recognized as the representative of such employees.
Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act
Under the Local Government Labor Regulatory Limitation Act, a municipality is prohibited from adopting, enforcing or administering a local ordinance, policy or resolution regulating work stoppage or strike activity of employers and their employees or the means by which employees may organize. +MCLS §123.1387. For more information on states that have enacted laws that prohibit municipalities from adopting ordinances or regulations on a specific area of the law, see Municipal Preemption Laws by State.
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