NLRB Proposes Allowing Partial Strikes

Nov 9, 2016

This proposal would overturn established NLRB precedent.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) establishes and enforces protocols that management and organized labor (i.e., unions) must follow during labor protests.

Recently, the NLRB’s Office of the General Council (OGC) drafted Memorandum OM 17-02 that proposes greatly expanding workers’ right to stage “partial strikes.”

If adopted, this proposal would, according to an article by Terry Potter and Brian Stair in Labor Relations Insider, “overturn decades of Board precedent.”

The authors define partial strikes as “anything less than a total, traditional strike (where employees completely withdraw their labor and refuse to work until the parties settle the dispute).” Partial strikes are not allowed and not given protection from disciplinary actions by employers under the present interpretation of Section 7 of the NLRB Act.

The OGC memo proposes allowing multiple or partial strikes and includes “an attached model brief” that NLRB litigants can use when appearing before Administrative Law Judges.

It also outlines precise criteria for determining what types of multiple strikes would be protected. The OGC argues that current interpretation of Section 7 does not adequately protect the rights of workers, and that the new guidelines outlined in the memo “’better address…Supreme Court precedent.’”

According to Mr. Potter and Mr. Stair, the proposed revisions to partial strike precedent would place an unreasonable burden on employers and give workers an unfair advantage in labor disputes by “disrupting operations more than traditional strikes.”

Review proceedings have been scheduled to provide employers with the opportunity to voice their opposition to Memorandum OM 17-02. The construction industry should join other industries in opposing the undermining of existing partial strike restrictions.



NLRB Plans to Push for Protection of Partial Strikes, Terry Potter and Brian Stairs, Labor Relations Law Insider, Nov. 3, 2016.