Bargaining and Protected Concerted Activities in the Time of COVID-19: Guidance and Lessons for Employers
The recent need to make difficult and sometimes time-sensitive decisions during the pandemic has raised the question of bargaining and other obligations under federal and state labor law. Whether or not you have a unionized workforce, the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or the “Act”) for covered private sector employers and Massachusetts state law, M.G.L. c. 150E, for public sector employers in Massachusetts, protects employees’ rights to engage in protected concerted activities. Moreover, for those employers with organized workforces, employers are generally obligated to bargain before making changes to employees’ wages, hours, working conditions, or other mandatory subjects of bargaining. Failure to do so may constitute an unlawful unilateral change and result in a finding that the employer committed an unfair labor practice.
Kathryn Murphy, a Partner at Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP presented a training session last month titled “Discriminatory Harassment Prevention Training for Managers”. Ms. Murphy began the training session with an introduction to legal basics where she emphasizes that discrimination is prohibited in any aspect of employment, and that the law prohibits discrimination against an individual based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, etc. The second section of the training outlined specific policies Read More
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) which provides for a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package. State and local governments, and also many educational entities, will receive substantial funding. Having endured the last year of the global COVID-19 pandemic, both states and local governments, as well as schools, have experienced unexpected expenses, losses in revenues, and budgetary burdens. The purpose of this Client Alert is to explain generally how funds from the ARPA relief aid have been designated to alleviate those COVID-19-related challenges.