Unions and bargaining
Employer taking without bargaining
Unions hold a unique ability to responsd to vaccine mandates. Mandatory vaccines must be bargained for. For the airlines and railroads mandatory vaccines are arguably a “major” dispute. Parties engaging “major” dispute resolution procedures, must maintain the status quo, and the employer may not implement the contested change in rates of pay, rules, or working conditions. Consolidated Rail Corporation v. Labor Executives’ Association, 491 U.S. 299, at 302-03. Federal Courts can enforce the duty to maintain the status quo and enjoin either party from engaging in conduct that violates that duty. Detroit & T.S.L.R.R. v. UTU, 396 U.S. 142.
On this basis, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association’s (9,000 members) filed a suit on 8-30-2021 claiming Southwest took unilateral action in violation of the Railway Labor Act, which governs airline-union relations. Those steps include the Covid-19 vaccination requirement. In the filing, the pilots association said: “The new vaccine mandate unlawfully imposes new conditions of employment and the new policy threatens termination of any pilot not fully vaccinated by December 8, 2021.”
Pilots are at risk because vaccine side effects may damage their ability to pass medical examinations to stay licensed. The union wants to know whether vaccine injured pilots will be covered by long-term disability policies. An Army flight surgeon had something to say about the risk of injury and death here.
Safety forces asking to bargain these mandates: Chicago,
Union members asking unions to intervene: LAFD.
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