The NLRA not only guarantees the right of employees to strike, but also places limitations and qualifications on how employees exercise that right. For example, restrictions exist against strikes in health care institutions. See “Striking or Picketing a Health Care Institution Without Notice” in
Union Unfair Labor Practices.
The lawfulness of a strike may depend on the object or purpose of the strike, its timing or the conduct of the strikers. The object, or objects, of a strike and whether the objects are lawful are matters not always easy to determine. The status is critical to both striking employees and employers facing a strike because it determines rights to reinstatement and back pay.
Strikes for a lawful object fall into two classes:
Unfair labor practices
Both classes of strikers retain employee status, but unfair labor practice strikers have greater rights of reinstatement to their jobs.