Wildcat Strike

Posted in Human Resources Terms, Total Reads: 812

Definition: Wildcat Strike

Wildcat Strike is more commonly known as wildcat action, which is spontaneous / unannounced, an impromptu kind of decision which is (usually illegal) taken for strike (taken by a section of employee through a union ballot). There isn’t any leadership authorization or support. Usually this kind of strike is seen during the act of collective bargaining when the some workers just decide on their own of going on a strike without prior discussion with the concerned union leadership.

In most of the countries the status of employers and employee is considered to be equal under law which was not the case previously. Prior to 18th century the breach of contract from employee side was considered to be a criminal offence and if the same happens from employers’ side it was supposedly considered to be a civil offence. Strikes are justified both legally as well as morally, provided the reason for their occurrence is justifiable. The only advantage that the worker sees during such strikes is that whatever grievances he has be it personnel or professional is resolved at a much faster pace and in a much more effective and concrete manner. Though it is very difficult to justify the wildcat strike from both employers and employee perspective as it brings the whole business into chaos at the same time disrepute’s the industrial actions.


The main reasons for occurrence of such strikes are as follows:

a) The labors are of the opinion that their problems haven’t been addressed properly, be it from labor union’s perspective or employer’s perspective. Also widely known as “Outlaw Strike”. Though the labors have a right to strike still the Taft Hartley Act prohibits certain type of actions from labors side.

b) Employees engaged in such wildcat strikes are involved in unprotected activities and are prone to disciplinary actions from the management.


Hence, this concludes the definition of Wildcat Strike along with its overview.


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