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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 38911
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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when negotiating a contract for employees can the union call

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when negotiating a contract for employees can the union call a strike if the union has not put a wage package on the table

In Children's Hosp. Medical Center of Northern California v. California Nurses Ass'n., 283 F.3d 1188 (U.S. 9th Cir. 2002), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals held: "The right to strike, including the right to strike for the purpose of supporting the cause of workers represented by a different union, may be waived in a collective bargaining agreement, but any waiver by a union of the right to strike must be clear and unmistakable.  National Labor Relations Act, § 7, as amended, 29 U.S.C.A. § 157."

In short, the union can strike for any reason, unless it has agreed not to do so in the current union contract.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

this is not a strike waiver question. no one waived the right. the union says they can't call a strike until they put our wage proposal on the table. I want to know if that is coming from NLRB, some other legal prohibition or just the preference of the union. Thanks. KB

It's just a union preference. However, a strike is the result of the inability to agree to a new contract. If the existing contract is still in force, then the failure to bargain in good faith would be a breach of the implied convenant of good faith -- which would give the employer damages against the union.

So, while it's a preference, exercising that preference could come at a significant cost. I'm not a big fan of unions (or employers) -- however, in this case, I can see why the union would want to make sure it had bargained in good faith before calling for a strike vote.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

Hello again,


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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I guess I am not making myself clear.

The contract has expired and the union did not extend so strike is an option. It has been over 6 months since we came off contract. The employer is giving one or two days availability, coming late and leaving early. So members of the bargaining unit wonder why we have not moved to strike in order to get this employer to take seriously its obligation to bargain in good faith.

What our union says when we ask about strike is that it can not move to strike because neither side has financials on the table. So, I'm wondering if moving to strike w/o financials on the table would-

  • be grounds for a NLRB ULP against the union

  • be a violation of some other Ca law or reg

  • be the union just saying they can't call a strike because they do not want to call a strike for other reasons and the "wage" issue looks like a plausible rationale to use with the bargaining unit employees?


It is an unfair labor practice to refuse to bargain in good faith, even after a union contract has expired. The union must put something on the table and have it rejected before a strike may be called. However, if the union is refusing to put something on the table, that would violate NLRA 8 ("(b) It shall be an unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents...(3) to refuse to bargain collectively with an employer....")

Based on your allegations, if the union is refusing to put anything "on the table," then the members could file a complaint with the NLRB.

Hope this helps.
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