Protecting Employers Since 1985

COVID-19 and Unions

COVID-19 is about the only subject being discussed at Wessels Sherman these days. Of course, there are some exceptions, but COVID-19 is the 800-pound gorilla! While most legal commentaries on COVID-19 focus on minutiae of legislation and regulations, for this commentary we are going to focus on practical information and solutions. And, we will do so in a checklist format with resources of practical use.

  1. Good format for fostering positive communications with your union while at the same time giving you a good defense against a unilateral change ULP. Click here.
  2. Hazard pay commentary with detailed surveys. Click here.
  3. Typical communications from unions about COVID-19. Click here
  4. Template for contract extension agreement because negotiations are delayed by COVID-19. Click here.
  5. Up to the minute hazard pay survey. Click here.
  6. Resource and union steward guides put out by various unions (SEIU-1021; AFL-CIO; UE)
  7. NLRB’s memorandum on unilateral change. Click here.
  8. CARES Act and union neutrality. The CARES Act contains a hidden provision that came as a surprise to most in the business community. This provision mandates union neutrality. An employer obtaining a loan under the CARES Act must certify that the Company will remain “neutral in any union organizing effort for the term of the loan”. Before you get scared, this applies only to mid-sized companies which are defined as having 500 to 10,000 employees. A neutrality commitment is devastating if a Company wants to remain union free. There are no details in the Act itself as to precisely what union neutrality means. We have seen union neutrality agreements in the past, particularly where major companies have included such a commitment in collective bargaining agreements. Whatever the details might be, such a commitment would presumably include a mandate that the employer gives up the right of free speech to explain to employees the disadvantages a union. A Company giving this sort of a commitment will lose elections. It’s that simple. Worse yet, depending upon how the details come out, a Company may give up a right to a secret ballot election and be required to accept a union with a card check. Here is a link to the applicable provisions in the CARES Act. Click here.

Questions? Contact attorney Richard Wessels in our St. Charles, IL office at (630) 377-1554 or by email at

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