Thursday, June 30, 2011

Message From NYC Building Trades



A number of affiliated unions have contacted our office requesting guidance on the position of the BCTC with regard to potential economic strikes and lock-outs that may occur as a result of the expiration of collective bargaining agreements. The following responds to these requests.


Every PLA includes a no strike/no-lock out clause. Every affiliate signatory to a PLA has an obligation to honor this clause. Any strikes in support of other unions on strike would be a breach of a PLA. Any lawsuit or other proceeding resulting from such a breach may seek monetary damages for any delay caused to a PLA job, which could be substantial.

Picket lines are generally not contemplated in support of economic strikes and hopefully no union member will be confronted with an economic strike picket line at any PLA job. However, in the event there is such a line, all unions signatory to a PLA have an obligation to advise their members that their union cannot and will not authorize or condone a strike on a PLA job.

While individual members have the choice to exercise their first amendment rights and choose not to cross a picket line, anything the union does to encourage a refusal to work for their employer on that PLA job may be deemed unlawful secondary activity and a breach of a PLA for which monetary damages may be sought and awarded. Injunctive relief may also be sought and awarded. Additionally, where a union member exercises their own individual right not to cross an economic strike picket line, their contractor can permanently replace them with someone who is willing to cross the line and work.

In the event that any affiliate is locked out by their employers and/or associations, the unions signatory to a PLA have an obligation to be present to work for their own contractors. Not providing personnel for the job in the face of another trade’s lockout may expose the union signatory to a PLA to liability as if they had struck the project in breach of a PLA.

Therefore, it is recommended that the affiliates that are signatory to PLAs advise their membership of the union’s potential liability for any strikes or refusal to provide personnel for the PLA jobs. Furthermore, all affirmative steps to provide personnel for the union’s own work should be taken and documented to show the union’s good faith compliance with a PLA.


The longstanding practice of the BCTC is that it does not recognize economic strikes or pickets resulting from the expiration of a collective bargaining agreement.


  1. Richard DorroughJune 30, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    However... PLA and no strike clause or not you can conduct an informational protest and the Union cannot be sued. No Union or contractor can forge an agreement you are bound to that denies you your first amendment right of freedom of assembly.
    If you are on public property and are not asking or encouraging anybody to join you or to stop work and if you are not trying to shut the job down but educate the public you can protest all you want.You are not striking the job. You are educating the public.
    Dont fall for the boo hoo story they are giving you

  2. excerpt:

    E.I. DUPONT - NLRB 3028-11

    The proscription against unilateral changes in terms and conditions of employment applies with full force “where, as here, an existing agreement has expired and negotiations on a new one have yet to be completed.”87

    When the contract expires, “terms and conditions continue in effect by operation of the NLRA. They are no longer agreed-upon terms; they are terms imposed by law, at least so far as there is no unilateral right to change them.”88

    This is required “in order to protect the statutory right to bargain.”89

     This Court has noted the serious damage inflicted by an employer’s implementation of unilateral changes to terms and conditions of employment: A unilateral change not only violates the plain requirement that the parties bargain over “wages, hours, and other terms and conditions,” but also injures the process of collective bargaining itself.

    “Such unilateral action minimizes the influence of organized bargaining. It interferes with the right of self organization by emphasizing to the employees that there is no necessity for a collective bargaining agent.”90

    86 Litton Fin. Printing Div. v. NLRB, 501 U.S. 190, 198 (1991).
    87 Id. at 198.
    88 Id. at 206.
    89 Id.
    90 NLRB v. McClatchy Newspapers, 964 F.2d 1153, 1162 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (quoting
    May Dep’t Stores Co. v. NLRB, 326 U.S. 376, 385 (1945)).

    - 22 -
    For this reason, a violation of Section 8(a)(5) also derivatively violates Section 8(a)(1) of the Act: unilateral changes tend “to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of” their right to engage in concerted activity.91

    As the Supreme Court observed in NLRB v. Katz, unilateral changes “plainly frustrate[]the statutory objective of establishing working conditions through bargaining.”92

    The Contract expires in 1-1/2 hours & this becomes operative.

    The Unilateral Changes also include the UBCJA's & the Contractor Association intent to coerce Judge Berman into accepting and approving the May 26, 2011 Restructuring Plan, in which the UBCJA has intentionally left it out - so Doug McCarron and Frank Spencer can back door it as an after the fact Unilateral Change to the Contract.

    Thats fraudulent inducement and it is also illegal.

    The SKILLS FORM is a Revocation of your Journeyman status and will come with the UBC's mandatory reclassification of 20k brothers & sisters to the Apprenticeship level wages, replete with a 40% reduction to your Hourly Wage.

    Do not sign it!

    There are a half dozen+ major Supreme Court precedent decisions which declare these practices & tactics as Facially Unlawful.




I would ask that if you would like to leave a comment that you think of Local 157 Blogspot as your online meeting hall and that you wouldn’t say anything on this site that you wouldn’t, say at a union meeting. Constructive criticism is welcome, as we all benefit from such advice. Obnoxious comments are not welcome.