16.190 - Labor Management Disputes

Effective Date: 05/07/2019


This policy applies to the Department’s response to strike scenes and handbilling scenes.  Handbilling is the practice of handing out flyers/pamphlets encouraging employees to unionize. 

1. Officers Will Protect Life and Property and Maintain the Peace in a Neutral Manner

Officers will not:

  • Fraternize with involved parties
  • Park police vehicles on company property, if feasible
  • Use company telephones
  • Accept food from involved parties

2. Watch Lieutenant Will Implement Incident Command System (ICS), as Necessary

The incident commander will attempt to identify the leadership of the picketers, and will seek to maintain a consistent line of communication.

3. Officers Will Prevent Picketers and Handbillers From Restraining Those Who are Attempting to Use Access Points

If the picket line is closed to restrict movement, the incident commander may request the picketers to open the line. 

4. Officers Shall Make Arrests Only as a Last Resort

When disturbances occur, those involved will be separated and ordered away from the area. If more serious crimes occur, arrests at the scene may be appropriate. 

  • When an arrest is deemed appropriate, officers shall carefully articulate in the Report why an arrest was necessary to resolve the situation.

5. Officers May Enforce Injunctions

If the business owner has an injunction (as evidenced by a court order signed by a judge) specifically prohibiting/restraining a labor organizer from handbilling on the employer’s property, officers may enforce any condition contained in the injunction. If time allows, the incident commander may consult the Department legal advisors.  

  • Officers must verify that they are addressing subjects that are identified in the injunction.
  • Officers shall use force to enforce an injunction only if it is necessary to protect public safety or property, and only at the direction of the incident commander or watch lieutenant.

a. Officers Shall Only Take Enforcement Action About Handbilling That is Specified by an Injunction

Officers should be aware that whether union organizers are permitted to recruit on the employer’s property is a case-by-case determination made by either the National Labor Relations Board or a court.

  • Officers will take a report and inform both parties that it will be available in the event that either side seeks to utilize the legal remedies available.


Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
Contact Us

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from Police

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) prevents crime, enforces laws, and supports quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services. SPD operates within a framework that divides the city into five geographical areas called "precincts".

Site Disclaimer: The Seattle Police Department's website was developed to provide general information. Data contained at this location is generally not reviewed for legal sufficiency. SPD documents displayed are for reference purposes only. Their completeness or currency are not guaranteed. Links or references to other information or organizations are for reference only and do not constitute an endorsement.