On Tuesday, SEIU-backed protestors will be, once again, taking to the streets in 270 cities as part of the union’s nearly six-year old plan to unionize the fast-food industry and affect the 2016 elections.
While many of the paid protestors are not actual employees of any particular fast-food chain, others may be.
As such, even as non-union employees, under Section Seven of the National Labor Relations Act, workers do have the right to strike.
As tempted as some managers may be, striking employees cannot be fired for striking.
[Note: Although strikers can be replaced—eonomic strikers can even be permanently replaced—it is doubtful that any of the targeted employers plan on doing so on Tuesday.]
As a precaution, employers’ supervisors and managers should be careful on how they respond to the Tuesday (or other) protests.
Attorney Steve Bernstein, regional managing partner in Tampa, Fla., of labor and employment firm Fisher & Phillips, said restaurant managers should be trained in how to respond when employees jump the counter to participate in strikes or protests tied to the wage issue.
The key is to remain focused on the operational aspects of the worker departure and to avoid making any threats, he said.
Bernstein warned that social media is increasingly dangerous territory when it comes to what is seen as protected activity.
“You want to avoid becoming that Facebook moment where they’re caught on someone’s smartphone video engaged in a confrontation with a co-worker or others in a way that might paint the employer in a bad light,” he said.
While social media may seem to many to be “not the workplace” where certain activity is protected, Bernstein said, the NLRB may not see it that way.
“The social media world is the water cooler of the 21st century,” Bernstein said
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Related: SEIU-backed Fast-Food Groups to Launch Biggest ‘Strike’ Yet on Tuesday
Image Credit: Fibonacci Blue