Tip Tuesday: How Will COVID-19 Change Global Labor Relations?
June 09, 2020

With people across the globe looking  to get back to their normal lives and return to work, there are multiple ways that COVID-19 may impact labor relations and human resources practices in the near future.

1. Organizing

  • A major push from Unions to organize workers, particularly in the service industries covering essential workers
  • Legislative changes that allow for organizing gig workers, including city/statewide jurisdiction agreements
  • Increase organizing efforts for public facing employees (public and private sector)

2. Collective Bargaining Agreements

  • Additional legislation/expansion of mandatory leave policies which will increase leave allowance in labor agreements
  • Increased demand for severance pay for laid-off employees and extension of healthcare coverage
  • Increased demand for hazard pay when required to work during a pandemic (when designated an “essential worker”)
  • Consolidation of companies resulting in the need to merge workforces and labor agreements

3. Safety

  • Push for health insurance that is not tied to employment
  • Demand socially distanced workplaces including reconfiguring the workplace
  • Emphasis on employer/union safety committees and contingency plans
  • Demand for PPE to be stockpiled

4. Telecommuting

  • Significant increase in number of workers telecommuting at least part-time
  • Increased reliance on video and voice conferencing, including grievance meetings and negotiations
  • Increased investment in technology to create “virtual workplaces,” including time and attendance systems
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