As building continues and resumes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, unionized building employers have to be aware of the phrases of their collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) when implementing office responses to COVID-19.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, building employers should create complete COVID-19 publicity management plans. These plans sometimes embody many new office security practices, equivalent to social distancing, facial coverings, day by day temperature and symptom screening, private hygiene and handwashing, office sanitation, and worker COVID-19 security coaching. Employers are also topic to a number of latest legal guidelines, proclamations, and steering for responding to staff who check optimistic, have been uncovered or are at “excessive threat” for COVID-19. These COVID-19 points could have an effect on employees’ phrases of employment, together with staffing, go away rights, and scheduling.
An employer’s means to unilaterally undertake modifications with out discover and bargaining with a union will largely activate the Nationwide Labor Relations Act’s (NLRA) contract protection commonplace. The Nationwide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) adopted the contract protection commonplace in September 2019 in MV Transportation, Inc., 368 NLRB No. 66.
Underneath the contract protection commonplace, the NLRB would study the plain language of the CBA to find out whether or not the employer’s motion fell beneath language granting the employer the precise to behave unilaterally. For instance, if the language broadly grants the employer the precise to implement new guidelines and insurance policies or to revise current ones, the employer wouldn’t violate the NLRA by unilaterally implementing or revising guidelines and insurance policies with out discover and bargaining with the union.
Employers can keep away from potential NLRA points on the outset by analyzing the language of their CBAs earlier than making COVID-19-related modifications to current insurance policies and practices.
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