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Working Without A Contract - What's In Jeopardy?

Current Bargaining Reports and Verizon Bargaining Update calls. The below information is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be representative of the status of our current Bargaining.

Source: Works Right Press, Read more here: http://www.workrightspress.com/strikesch.html

Working Without A Contract – What’s In Jeopardy? A common fear about letting the contract expire is that the employer can cut wages, halt payments to benefit plans, cancel vacations, scrap seniority, assign supervisors to unit work, refuse to hear grievances, and so on. In truth, the only areas in jeopardy are union security, dues checkoff, agreements on permissive subjects, arbitration, and matters in the employer’s final contract offer. Wages and benefits do NOT change.

Management Rights: The NLRA requires management to maintain contract terms and conditions of employment while it bargains on a new agreement, except for the matters discussed below. Abandoning or changing a pre-existing condition is an unfair labor practice (ULP), giving the union a basis for filing an NLRB charge, calling a ULP strike, or filing a challenge to a lockout.

Concerted Activities: Concerted activities post-expiration run the risk of lockout, depending on the employer’s willingness to reach agreement ultimately. However, unfair labor practice can be filed if the employees are locked out for engaging in protected activities and is some respects lockouts are more advantageous to us than strikes.  “Job-Wobbling” activities such as handbills, rallies, off-duty picketing, overtime refusals, work-to-rule, along with the threat of full-scale strike, may create enough pressure that the employer agrees to settle the contract. Specific legal rules must be observed to be sure these activities are protected. If you are not sure check with your Mobilization Coordinator.

Union security and dues checkoff: Union-security obligations like mandatory dues or dues equivalent are unenforceable in the absence of an executed contract. Dues checkoff is also at risk: Members will still owe dues, but the union could have to collect them individually. This has not happened with most of our employers.

Arbitration: With a few exceptions, arbitration rights generally disappear during the “without-a-contract” period. The exceptions are grievances filed while the Contract was still in effect; grievances over events that occurred prior to expiration; and grievances over rights that occrued under the expired agreement. For grievances over new matters, including discipline, the employer’s only duty is to discuss the matter with the union and to supply information.

With arbitration no longer a concern, the employer may be tempted to fire workers who play leading role in mobilization activities. A counterweight is the union’s ability to strike in protest (the no-strike/no lockout clause expires with the contract). The union can also file charges at the NLRB, which, without a contract in force, will not apply its deferral policy which delays NLRB action until the grievance procedure is completed.

Agreements on permissive subjects: Contract termination releases the employer from agreements covering permissive subjects of bargaining, like health insurance for already retired employees and neutrality provisions.

Final proposals: A last area of jeopardy is the employer’s final contract offer. Under NLRA rules, if the union and the employer come to a deadlock in contract negotiations, and the preceding contract has expired, the employer can declare impasse and implement its proposals.

While the union cannot ignore this possibility, several obstacles stand in the employer’s way.  The employer may not implement a change unless the parties have reached a bargaining impasse on the contract as a whole; impasse on a single proposal is not sufficient.

No Business as usual: We will not simply be working as usual. Mobilization is more important then ever. Our strength in bargaining comes from a strong and visible mobilization.

Make Sure The Company Knows That We Stand Behind Our Bargaining Team.

Wear Red, Stay Strong, Stay United, and Stay Mobilized!

Instructions For Leafleting at Verizon and Apple Stores