Are union tactics changing? Have the rules changed when it comes to protests and picketing? Recently the USW and Occupy Toronto gathered for a flash mob at the BMO Building. The union was on strike for an extended period and was becoming increasingly frustrated. As a result members of the union and the occupy movement held a gathering to bring attention to their cause. What security challenges will this present in the future? Contingency plans will now need to take into consideration additional security threats as well as potential damage to the brand caused by such events. A greater focus on security will need to be placed on secondary locations as such head offices, affiliated locations, suppliers as well as financial institutions that provide funding to operate these organizations. In addition to security requirements, there is also a growing need for crisis communication expertise. Because many of these actions are mobilized rapidly, the ability to communicate to both internal and external stakeholders in real time will be necessary.
As we all know social media is used by almost everyone to communicate, express thoughts and increase awareness. In a number of recent high profile work stoppages social media has been successfully used by the union movement to organize large scale rallies, mass picketing and protests. Information regarding non-violent civil disobedience is openly shared instructing union activists on how to carry out tactics. Is this new form of protest a blessing or a curse? A great deal can be learned about the protest in terms of who is involved, when and what is going to take place. Legally some of the data might prove useful for the purposes of court injunctions or other legal proceedings. The down side is your strike will now also garner worldwide attention overnight. Contingency planners must now take into account that social media will be used as a tool by protesters. More importantly, information needs to be gathered on an ongoing bases to ensure proper mitigation strategies can be deployed.