In this podcast episode, join our Labor Law Insiders as they discuss the unique vulnerabilities faced by the healthcare industry at this juncture of history, including the impact on bargaining and of expanded union organizing activities. Our Insiders also explore some actions that employers can take to reduce the possible conflicts between employees and management
A former field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Terry views labor and employment cases from an insider’s perspective. He represents employers in collective bargaining, arbitrations and union avoidance techniques in a myriad of factual settings before the NLRB, National Mediation Board (NMB) and various state public labor relations boards.
1. I have a unionized workforce. Do I need to bargain before mandating that my employees are Covid vaccinated before reporting to work?
With the CDC largely ending mask requirements for those who are Covid vaccinated, many employers will look anew at whether they will require vaccinations for their employees to participate in the workplace. While this whole topic raises a myriad of questions related to vaccine certificates, maintenance of medical records, and exceptions that might apply to employees because of religious or health accommodations, an entirely separate question comes up as to whether employers may mandate their union workforce to be vaccinated in order to work.
Continue Reading Funny You Should Ask: Is a vaccine mandate a subject of bargaining?
In an Aug. 27, 2015, decision, a majority of the Board found that the Purple Communications standard, with respect to an employer’s email system, would apply without exception to healthcare providers and, in particular, for acute care hospitals. Contrary to the cogent arguments put forth by member Johnson in his dissent, the majority found there should be no exception to the presumption set forth under Purple Communications that employees have a statutory right to use an employer’s email system for Section 7 related communications during non-working time. The majority also found that the hospital failed to show “special circumstances” to rebut this presumption, notwithstanding the fact that evidence was submitted of studies finding a correlation between employee distractions and patients’ safety and identifying computers and other electronic communication devices as sources of such distraction.
Continue Reading No Purple Communications exception applied to healthcare providers
While union organizing is decreasing in so many other parts of the economy, the healthcare industry remains a target. The Service Employees International Union in particular continues in its efforts to organize healthcare facilities throughout the United States. A recent settlement agreement through the NLRB between the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Service…
In a 2-1 decision in Sodexo America LLC, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held recently that the University of Southern California hospital violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act by maintaining and enforcing a rule that limited off-duty employee access to the workplace, except for specific purposes.
The policy at issue provided that:
- Off-duty employees are not allowed to enter or re-enter the interior of the hospital or any other work area outside the hospital except to visit a patient, receive medical treatment or to conduct hospital-related business.
- An off-duty employee is defined as an employee who has completed his/her assigned shift.
- Hospital-related business is defined as the pursuit of the employee’s normal duties or duties as specifically directed by management.
- Any employee who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.