After I got home from a fine and fun evening not at all related to the strike (well, maybe sort of related to it), I was reading through some email and responding to some comments, thinking about how the main reason we aren’t in the classroom right now is, basically, because the administration left the table and won’t talk to us anymore.
That got me thinking: isn’t that a “lockout?”
I am far from a lawyer or labor specialist; so, lacking any expertise, I did what lots of people do. I went to wikipedia and typed in “lockout.” The entry is here, but this is a quote from what it says:
A lockout is a work stoppage in which an employer prevents employees from working. This is differentiated from a strike, in which employees refuse to work. Sometimes, a lockout happens when only part of a trade union votes to strike. In such a scenario, the purpose of a lockout is to put pressure on a union by reducing the number of members who are able to work. For example, if part of the workers strike so that the work of the rest becomes impossible or less productive, the employer may declare a lockout until the workers end the strike.
Other times, particularly in the United States, a lockout occurs when union membership rejects the company’s last, best and final offer at negotiations and offers to return to work under the same conditions of employment as existed under the now expired contract. In such a case, the lockout is designed to pressure the workers into accepting the terms of the company’s last offer.
The second paragraph here seems to match the situation we’re in now pretty closely. They’ve given us what they have labled the “last, best, and final offer,” they have said that the only way they’ll talk is if we give up the strike, and it is a move to pressure workers to accept the last offer.
So, isn’t that a lockout after a fashion?
Is that legal? Is there any kind of action the union can take on this, if it is a lockout? Why aren’t we as a union calling it a lockout?