Organizations dealing with a strike or other work stoppage need to address additional threats in order to effectively protect the company's people, property, products and brand. In order to manage risks to acceptable levels, the ideal scenario involves a detailed site analysis conducted in advance by security professionals with business continuity expertise to identify and address vulnerabilities and resulting threats.
Core principles of protection
Effective protection goes beyond physical security. Basic physical security usually entails a combination of well-maintained and designed fences, lighting, IP surveillance systems and access control measures. An analysis conducted by an expert such as a certified Physical Security Inspector can expose a host of vulnerabilities that pose minimal risk under normal conditions, but are unacceptable threat during a strike.
A thorough analysis typically includes reviews of:
- Best Practices
- CCTV/IP Systems
- Barriers and Exterior Lighting
Picket Line Laws & Regulations
Understanding and having a working knowledge of the laws and regulations that govern picket line activity is critical in a labor dispute because violations of these regulations and any criminal activity by union members, when properly documented, can be used in a court of law to support requests for temporary restraining orders and injunctive relief from violence, ongoing threats, damage to company and staff members' property and numerous other issues.
Furthermore, these laws also mandate the appropriate methods by which evidence can be gathered and clearly punishes improper documentation that will lead to unfair labor practice charges against the company.
In-House Security Vs Strike Security Vendors
A regular security guard may be appropriate for day-to-day access control, but they will not be prepared for the specific risks and threats posed by a strike. Augmenting your existing security personnel with a protection team on the picket line can provide a barrier between striking union members and your regular security staff, who will remain on-site once the dispute is over.
Reputation & Brand Protection
Businesses must also be prepared to safeguard their reputation and brand during a strike. Protection strategy also addresses exposure to false accusations and issues that may be spread through social media. Labor disputes are less violent today than in years past, but what we often see today is allegations of picketers being hit by a car on the picket line.
If a company does not have video documentation of the incident it's easy for the picketers to call the local police and/or media and make false claims about what happened. If properly documented, your strike security team will provide video evidence to the police showing them exactly what occurred.
Managing threats and any incidents that occur during a work stoppage is essential and requires knowledge of labor laws as well as strike security experience to be one step ahead of the strike union workers -- that comes from consistent exposure to picket line activity.