By Michael J. Soltis, J.D.
COVID-2019 is a unique virus presenting unique social challenges, and dealing with COVID-19 in the context of a collective bargaining relationship presents unique labor issues as well.
Employers focus on the impact of COVID-19 on their employees, customers, and ability to carry on their businesses. Many are following advice from leading health organizations about steps to take to minimize the likelihood of introducing COVID-19 to the workplace. These workforce protection efforts can implicate many federal, state, and local employment and health laws. One of these is the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
While most of the NLRA deals with issues that arise where employees are represented by or seeking to be represented by a union, some of the NLRA applies to nonunion workplaces as well. For this reason, all private sector employers (other than those involved in railroads and airlines, which are subject to the analogous Railway Labor Act) should consider their obligations and employee rights under the NLRA when in dealing with COVID-19 at the workplace.
Author Michael J. Soltis discusses these particularly relevant NLRA provisions in this month’s On the Labor Front article, “Coronavirus and the NLRA.”
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