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Seven Common Reasons Employees Go on Strike

Employees have a legal right to strike against their employer over grievances with their workplace or their terms of employment. By striking, employees can force employers to the negotiating table for the purposes of collective bargaining, which can potentially improve their circumstances. Here are seven of the most common reasons that employees go on strike:


  • Low wages

    • One of the most common reasons workers go on strike has to do with low wages. When workers are getting paid less than they deserve, and especially if they are being paid significantly below the industry standard, they may go on strike to obtain better wages.

  • Unsafe working conditions

    • Another common issue seen in labor disputes is the problem of unsafe working conditions. These include situations where employers refuse to implement adequate safety standards, provide safety equipment, or otherwise fail to take reasonable measures to prevent accidental injury or death on the job.

  • Wage theft

    • Employees may also choose to go on strike if their employer is engaged in wage theft. This includes a variety of illegal practices such as refusing to pay overtime, stealing employee tips, or misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor to avoid paying worker’s compensation or Social Security taxes.

  • Refusing to grant time off

    • Employees may also choose to strike if their employer refuses to grant time off that they are legally entitled to. This can include both sick and vacation days, as well as both paid or unpaid time off.

  • Lack of promotions or raises

    • Some strikes occur because an employer will be unusually stingy with promotions or raises. This keeps employees at the bottom of the company hierarchy, both in terms of pay and in terms of their authority and status, limiting their professional mobility.

  • Lack of benefits

    • Another reason employees may choose to go on strike is if an employer does not provide certain benefits, or refuses to give access to benefits promised to employees. This includes things like retirement benefits, health insurance, or sick or vacation days.

  • Unfair labor practices

    • Employees may also choose to go on strike if their employer engages in unfair labor practices, which are activities intended to prevent employees from exercising their legal rights, such as their right to organize and collectively bargain. If this happens to you, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling labor law matters.

Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 42 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or

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