Strikes, Lockouts and Other "Economic Weapons": Oklahoma
Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.
Authors: Alan L. Rupe and Daniel Press, Kutak Rock LLP
- Oklahoma does not have any statutory law expressly forbidding private employers or employees from engaging in strikes or lockouts. See Right to Strike.
- Oklahoma law limits the recruiting and hiring practices of employers during a strike or lockout, and imposes penalties for violations. See Unlawful Strike Activities.
Right to Strike
Private employees' right to strike is governed by the National Labor Relations Act. Oklahoma does not have any laws expressly forbidding private employers or employees from engaging in lawful strikes or lockouts.
Unlawful Strike Activities
Recruitment during a Strike or Lockout
It is unlawful for any individual, employer or labor organization to knowingly recruit, procure, supply or refer any person (excluding persons who are permanent employees of the employer involved in such strike or lockout) who has customarily and repeatedly offered himself for employment in the place of employees involved in strikes or lockouts for employment in place of an employee in a business or industry where a strike or lockout exists. These persons are commonly referred to as "strikebreakers".
The prohibition on strikebreakers does not apply to services or work performed by a salaried or supervisory employee of a business or industry where a strike or lockout exists, or a person, firm or corporation in its usual trade, occupation or business as long as such trade, occupation or business does not customarily furnish strikebreakers in any labor strike or lockout. Further, the employer hiring, recruiting, securing or offering to secure employment must be a bona fide resident of the State of Oklahoma for a period of six months prior to the strike or lockout, or if a corporation, be chartered or duly licensed to do business in the State of Oklahoma for a period of six months prior to the strike or lockout. See +40 Okl. St § 199.1.
Aside from the exception listed above, Oklahoma prohibits individuals who customarily and repeatedly offer their employment to replace workers on strike or in a lockout to knowingly take, or offer to take, the positions of those currently-striking workers. See +40 Okl. St § 199.2.
Notice of Strike or Lockout
Oklahoma law prohibits employers to recruit, solicit or advertise for individuals to work for them during a strike or lockout unless the employer adequately notifies the applicants that there is a current strike or lockout in place and that the position will replace someone who is currently striking or being locked out. See +40 Okl. St § 199.3.
Inmates employed through a work release program under the Division of Community Services of the Department of Corrections may not report to work if a strike occurs at their place of employment. Inmates may not be hired by any employer to replace any employee engaged in a strike or negotiation or arbitration involving a labor dispute. See +57 Okl. St § 543.1.
Any individual or employer that violates the prohibitions concerning strikes and lockouts is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be punished by a fine of not less than $500 and no more than $2,500. The individual or employer may also be imprisoned in the county jail for not less than 60 days but no more than one year. See +40 Okl. St. § 199.4.
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