Employers and employees have a symbiotic relationship. Employers must rely upon employees for a business to work and employees rely upon employers to make a living. While these relationships often work well, disputes also arise from time-to-time.
When an employment dispute arises in a unionized workforce, the union is the workers' representative . The union has a duty to advocate on behalf of its member employees in an effort to resolve disputes through negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.
Of course, sometimes workers feel the need to strike. The idea behind this approach is that service withdrawals will result in customer pressure on the business to a point that the employer will concede to the demands of the employees in order to get them back to work. In some cases, the threat of a strike motivates the parties to reach an agreement.
Picketing is often a part of a strike, though not always. Sometimes, workers will picket, not to get their employer to make a change, but rather to try to persuade another party to agree to a deal. This scenario recently played out at Port Metro Vancouver when container truck drivers took to the picket line in an effort to get two holdout firms to ratify a labour deal. Already agreed to by multiple other firms, that deal would run until July 2019, if ratified by all parties.
Picketing is not the only course of action that disputing parties can take. Because disputes can lead to financial expense, along the way there are usually efforts made by both sides to resolve the matter amicably. Throughout the process a labour lawyer can help with all matters related to a labour dispute.