IBEW Local 1928 – Important Information Regarding Picketing
IBEW Local 1928 members who are on strike or locked out have a constitutional right to picket on their employer’s premises. However the right to picket does not include the right to blockade those premises, verbally or physically assault people, or damage vehicles which seek to cross the picket line to enter those premises.
If there is a strike or lockout, Local 1928 will organize picket lines at the company’s various locations. It is essential that you join the picket lines to demonstrate to your employer that IBEW Local 1928 members are determined to resist the take-aways demanded by the company and to conclude a fair collective agreement.
As a picketer your objective is to peacefully persuade the public to support Local 1928 in its dispute with your employer by not crossing your picket line.
Picketing – Important things to know
1. Follow the Directions of your Picket Captain
Effective picketing is best accomplished in a disciplined manner under the direction of the Picket Captain appointed by Local 1928. Local 1928 will chose a picketing location on public property where you can exercise your right to picket without trespassing and without endangering the picketers or the public.
The Picket Captain is the only spokesperson for the picketers. Your Picket Captain is responsible to maintain an orderly picket line and picketers must follow their Picket Captain’s directions.
2. Keep Walking – the do’s and don’ts
Everyone has the right to walk along public sidewalks or roads, including areas where there are driveways or entrances to your employer’s locations. Members of the public have the right or may have permission to enter those premises. You have to show your support for the Local by carrying picket signs and walking on the public sidewalk or road. You have the right to try to communicate with the people or vehicles seeking to cross the sidewalk or road to enter the company’s premises.
- Keep walking at all times.
- Do not stop in front of a person or vehicle – do not sit on the road to block them – always keep moving.
- A designated picketer should speak to a person or vehicle approaching the picket line and ask to explain why Local 1928 is on strike or locked out, and ask them not to cross the picket line.
- If they don’t speak to the designated picketer, the members on the picket line will keep walking peacefully in the public space where the vehicle or person wants to pass.
- Never assault or threaten to harm the person or damage the vehicle seeking to cross the picket line. This will lead to arrest by police and can escalate into a violent incident which will harm the Local and likely extend the strike or lockout.
3. You Cannot Blockade an Entrance
- Most people will not want to cross a picket line but some will.
- If the line keeps moving and the picketers keep walking and a person tries to squeeze through or a vehicle slowly tries to push through the picketers walking on the public sidewalk or roadway – Let them.
- Some of those who want to cross the picket line may try and provoke you by pushing forward aggressively or by using abusive language. Do not respond with violence. Keep walking!
- Although you can delay those who want to cross your picket line you cannot lawfully stop them from going through.
- Ultimately delaying the passage of vehicles through peaceful picketing is an effective way to put pressure on employers but blocking them will result in Court orders limiting picketing and criminal charges against Union members.
4. Obey the Police
If your picket line is effective in delaying entrance or exit from your employer’s locations the police will be called. The police will be initially low-key but they will eventually decide to push picketers aside to allow for entrances or exits.
If a police officer directs you to move aside to let a vehicle or person pass your picket line, you must follow those directions and get out of the way enough to let the person cross. If not, you will be arrested.
It is essential to have a Picket Captain in charge of the picket line who can communicate with the police. That will ensue that picketers are not surprised and arrested when the police decide to push them aside. Effective picketing usually involves working out an understanding with police on an acceptable period of delaying vehicles.
5. A Notice to Utility Contractors
IBEW Members of Local 1928 employed by Utility Contractors have the right under the Trade Union Act to refuse to perform the duties and responsibilities of Local 1928 members who are on strike or locked out. If contractors approach your picket line, you should speak to those involved and remind them of their right to refuse to perform struck work.