It is pretty obvious why legislators and bosses want to make public sector strikes illegal: it reduces the chances that union bureaucrats will support a strike, thus weakening workers’ power. Fortunately, this is not always sufficient to stop workers from walking off the job in a wildcat action, particularly when conditions become unbearable.
However, another goal of anti-strike clauses is to appeal to individual workers’ fear of the legal system and the potential consequences if they are caught. This is particularly effective for immigrant employees, even when they are legally working in the country on green cards, since breaking the law is grounds for deportation and denial of citizenship.
Central Michigan University faculty members are planning to go on strike. Many of them are here on visas. Because the legality of the strike is being challenged, these teachers could be denied green cards and citizenship for participating, according to a report in Central Michigan Life.
The Faculty Association is calling the strike is legal, whereas administration is saying it is illegal. A court order had halted picketing earlier this week. However, a final ruling was supposed to be made today. In the meantime, visiting professors must make the tough choice of supporting their colleagues on the picket line and risk losing their residency or citizenship bids, or scab on their fellow workers and undermine their own wellbeing by sabotaging the strike.
The court did in fact issue a ruling today that the union was forbidden from strikes and work stoppages for another 20 days, to allow “fact finding” to be completed. However, Judge Paul Chamberlain did allow picketing to continue during this period, according to MLive.com.