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Tip Tuesday: Aftermath of Coronavirus - Impacts to Relationship With Labor

April 7, 2020
Employers' relationships with unions have dramatically changed since COVID-19 hit the U.S. How will the aftermath of the virus impact your employers' relationships with labor?
 
  • Negotiations on new or existing contracts are likely suspended during this crisis. When restarting negotiations, the economic outlook could be very different than before the pandemic. You may have to revisit areas that have already been agreed to or proposed;
  • Grievances and/or arbitrations might be held virtually or over the phone or temporarily held in abeyance. If grievance and arbitrations are temporarily held in abeyance, be prepared to deal with these old cases in an orderly fashion. Get an agreement with your union(s) on how to proceed;
  • If you have negotiated leaves of absences, make sure you have an understanding with your union(s) on how to return employees to the payroll;
  • Some frontline workers will be hesitant to return to work even after the “shelter-in-place” restrictions are lifted. Make sure you have a plan to address these workers. 

Above all, recognize that the WAY YOU DO BUSINESS WITH THE UNION IN THE SHORT TERM WILL IMPACT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH LABOR IN THE LONG TERM.