Trump’s NLRB bans bargaining over COVID-19 worker safety issues

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Supporting bosses, board takes away union rights to negotiate safety or closures

The Trump-appointed NLRB is kicking workers in the face over COVID-19 safety issues.

In a series of five memos to their regional directors, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) instructed them to dismiss various cases regarding COVID-19 related charges against employers.

The board concluded that an employer is not obligated to engage in midterm bargaining regarding union proposals for paid sick leave and hazard pay because of the ongoing pandemic. They also said that an employer does not have to bargain about a temporary closure.

CAN BE FIRED FOR SPEAKING OUT
In regard to workers speaking out about a dangerous situation on the job, the board has decided that an individual speaking out about a company’s COVID safety procedure is not protected speech. This means that they can be fired by their employer.

This guidance came after a case was filed by a nurse who was fired after for refusing to work at a nursing home that was requiring workers to share isolation gowns.

While this decision is not unexpected by the NLRB, it does give employers much more freedom into unilaterally creating work standards during COVID-19. This gives employers significantly more latitude for forcing workers into possibly dangerous workplace situations as COVID-19 continues to rage across the United States.

(Edited and reprinted from Ucomm blog)


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